Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dura Europos synagogue ceiling

MORE ON DURA EUROPOS: Further to this post, Joseph Lauer e-mails to note that the current issue of the American Journal of Archaeology has an article on the tiles from the synagogue ceiling. Abstract:
Mapping Devotion in Roman Dura Europos: A Reconsideration of the Synagogue Ceiling

Author(s): Karen B. Stern

American Journal of Archaeology

Print ISSN: 0002-9114
Volume: 114 | Issue: 3
Cover date: April 2010
Page(s): 473-504


Archaeological remains of Dura Europos continue to inspire countless studies, partly because of the exemplary preservation of this city at the crossroads of the Hellenistic, Persian, and Roman worlds. The well-preserved synagogue from Dura similarly offers a unique example of a building whose form might have had parallels in Syria and other regions of the ancient Mediterranean. Yet in the decades since its discovery, scholars have emphasized the interior murals with biblical motifs as its most distinctive feature. The 234 decorated and inscribed tiles recovered from the synagogue ceiling, by contrast, have attracted little interest; painted surfaces of ceiling bricks were historically classified as incidental decorations more suitable for summary than analysis. This article gives renewed attention to the neglected ceiling of the Dura Europos synagogue. While consideration of the decorated surface remains important for its own sake, an evaluation of its context inspires novel hypotheses about space and use. Although the ceiling remains one of the most overlooked features of the Dura synagogue, a substantive reexamination shifts analyses of the synagogue building, broader considerations of art and culture in Roman Dura Europos, and discussions of Jewish localisms in the Graeco-Roman world.
Author(s): Karen B. Stern 1

Author(s) affiliations

Department of History, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11012.
Follow this link for a link to the pdf file of the complete article. You can also enlarge the image of the synagogue ceiling by clicking on it.

DSS discovered in ... New Jersey?

DEAD SEA SCROLLS discovered in ... New Jersey? Bruce Zuckerman to the rescue!
Let There Be Light

Using Bruce Zuckerman's technology and software, a click of the mouse on a Dead Sea Scrolls image acts like a flashlight, revealing the tiniest of details — even a fleck of ink scraped off the top of a character.
By Pamela J. Johnson (USC news)
June 24, 2010

categories: research, faculty research
tags: artifact, bruce zuckerman, history, humanities, linguistics, manuscript, religion, west semitic research project

We all know what New Jersey is famous for. The birthplace of Ol' Blue Eyes? Where Thomas Edison invented the light bulb? Heaven help us, Jersey Shore?


The Garden State is home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times. In 1949 — two years after their discovery in a Judaean desert cave — fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls found their way to New Jersey and eventually to an unassuming, red brick with white trim church in Teaneck.

For six decades, the fragments had been locked inside the church’s vault. St. Mark’s Syrian Orthodox Cathedral and Dead Sea Scrolls officials knew it was time to call in the heavy hitters to document the 2,000-year-old manuscript.

About 2,450 miles west, USC College’s Bruce Zuckerman got the call. A leading Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, Zuckerman was the first to record the New Jersey fragments dating around 100 B.C. using high-end digital technology. In August 2009, he and other West Semitic Research Project (WSRP) members brought their advanced imaging methods to the church and photographed the scrolls. Steven Fine of Yeshiva University in New York collaborated with WSRP, part of an ongoing partnership between USC and Yeshiva.

More on Professor Zuckerman and his team here and, sadly, here.

Via Joseph Lauer and the Agade List.

UPDATE: Dead link fixed. Sorry.

Did Jesus speak Hebrew?

THE LANGUAGE(S) JESUS SPOKE continue to be explored by Mark D. Roberts. This installment is Did Jesus Speak Hebrew? His conclusion:
Given Jesus' roots in Nazareth, and given his early ministry among common folk in Galilee, it seems most likely that he usually employed Aramaic in his teaching, and this is confirmed by the data of the Gospels. But, given the likelihood that Jesus knew Hebrew as a second language, and given his frequent debates with Jewish religious teachers, and given the movement of his ministry to Judea, where Hebrew was more common, I am convinced that Jesus did teach in Hebrew at times.
This sounds about right to me.

Earlier installments noted here.

Friday, July 09, 2010

John M. Melzian, R. I. P.

SAD NEWS from the Agade list: John M. Melzian, an associate of Bruce Zuckerman's West Semitic Research Project and husband of project associate Marilyn Lundberg Melzian, has passed away. His bio from the Inscriptifact website:
John Melzian
John Melzian is an Industrial Designer with thirty years of experience in utilizing new technologies in the development and introduction of cost-effective products. He received his Master of Arts in Industrial Design from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has worked for Mattell Toys, and Applause Inc., and ran is own design office, Design Base International, for ten years. In his work with the West Semitic Research Project he has designed and built a number of specialized photographic devices and participated in numerous imaging projects.
Requiescat in pace.

Mark Goodacre's trip to Israel

MARK GOODACRE is back from his first trip to Israel and is sharing his experiences in an ongoing series of blog posts: A Biblical Scholar's First Impressions of Israel I: Tel Aviv; II: Jaffa; III: Bethlehem; IV: Jerusalem; V: The Dead Sea.

Dramatized Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

Mac Wellman's MFA Playwrights Present the Weasel Festival 7/28-30

Wednesday, July 7, 2010; Posted: 02:07 PM - by BWW News Desk

The fifth-annual Bring a Weasel and a Pint of Your Own Blood Festival is excited to present three original plays and a short film at the East 13th Street Theater from July 28th to July 30th. Solely produced and written by playwrights from Mac Wellman's groundbreaking Brooklyn College MFA program, this year's Weasel festival features talented alumni Corina Copp, Benjamin Gassman, Kobun Kaluza and Amber Reed. Each playwright will riff off the stories of The Apocrypha - the infamous religious texts that didn't make the Bible's cut. Not decreed to be divinely inspired, the Apocrypha books are ancient Greek texts that were ripped and pasted back into the Bible throughout history. Filled with luminous stories of prophets, angels, intrigue and heresy, the off-the-record Apocrypha is the perfect inspiration for a festival of peculiar plays by playwrights working outside the canon.
The Apocrypha actually did "make the Bible's cut" in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, which include those books in their canons. But the Apocrypha are not part of the Jewish and Protestant canons. But in any case, one of the texts being dramatized is technically part of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha rather than the Apocrypha (even though it is usually included in modern Bibles that contain the Apocrypha). This is 2 Esdras, which is not in anybody's canon and is actually a small library of apocalypses now known as 4 Ezra (chaps. 3-14), 5 Ezra (chaps. 1-2), and 6 Ezra (chaps. 15-16).

Also, the book of Esther is in all biblical canons, although a number of Apocryphal additions (chaps. 10.4-16:24) are interspersed through the book. The description below implies that the adaptation is of the whole book, but this isn't entirely clear.

Here is the full program for the Weasel Festival:
Each night features three short plays and one short film:
WALTZ: an adaptation of The Story of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, and The Song of Three Children. By Corina Copp; Directed by Meghan Finn
A woman is falsely accused, so an angel stands ready to cut judges in two: so goes divine justice.

Purimacolo: an adaptation of The Story of Esther.
By Benjamin Gassman; Directed by Julia Jarcho
Mussolini's mistress is crashing the Purim play.

Red Ass: The College Years, Sophomore Year: an adaptation of
The Second Book of Esdrus. By Kobun Kaluza; Directed by Judith Smith
On a sandy cove in the Pacific Northwest, Red Ass the turtle seeks prophetic wisdom and sophomore advice from his fellow animals.

A stop animation film adaptation of The Book of Tobit, by Amber Reed

Thursday, July 08, 2010

On the synagogue art of Dura Europos

Considering Dura: Part II

Richard McBee
Posted Jul 07 2010 (Jewish Press)

Dura Europos looms large in the history of Jewish Art not only because of its place as the earliest example of Jewish Art but also because its achievements are seemingly at odds with the conceptual and halachic problems it presents. The complexity and variety of Torah subjects depicted are more ambitious and extensive than any Jewish Art until the advent of the illuminated Haggadahs in Spain one thousand years later. The notion of a synagogue interior fully decorated with images does not reappear until the famous painted shuls of Poland, Lithuania and Russia in the 17th century. All that said the images we see are, at times, problematic.

Aside from the fact that the extensive figuration, especially on the Western wall toward which congregants would pray, flies in the face of the injunction against graven images in the context of worship, other issues arise upon closer inspection. Many of the Torah figures - Abraham, Moses, Samuel and Elijah - are depicted in Roman costume as contemporary statesmen-heroes, blurring the distinction between Jew and Gentile. There are troubling factual inconsistencies: the last two sections of the Exodus panel are out of narrative sequence; the consecration of the "Temple of Aaron" seems to show a bull about to be killed with an ax - contrary to normative Jewish slaughter - and the panel frequently labeled as "Solomon's Temple" shows the Temple doors decorated with recognizable pagan figures. Finally the panel "Rescuing Moses" from the Nile depicts Pharaoh's daughter as unclothed. Nonetheless, these contradictions to our notions of appropriate synagogue decoration must not distract us from attempting to understand the earliest example of Jewish narrative art.

Part I does not appear to be online.

UPDATE: Joseph Lauer directs me to Part I here. Excerpt:
"Aladen's Lamp had been rubbed and suddenly from the dry, brown, bare desert had appeared paintings, not just one nor a panel nor a wall but a whole building of scene after scene, all drawn from the Old Testament in ways never dreamed of before" exclaimed Clark Hopkins, one of the first archeologists to see the newly discovered frescoes from the synagogue at Dura Europos in 1932.

In that one exciting location there are no less than 14 major narratives depicted on the walls of the synagogue. They are not symbolic ciphers; rather they are fleshed out scenes that evoke in a complex and often midrashic style well-known Torah narratives. They had been painted for this synagogue sometime around 245 CE in the frontier Roman town of Dura. The town was overrun and destroyed by the Persians in 256 CE and forgotten until the British accidentally uncovered it in 1920.
This part has a detailed overview of the site and its layout.

UPDATE (10 July): More on the Dura Europos synagogue here.

Vesuvius punishment from God?

WAS THE VESUVIUS ERUPTION PUNISHMENT FROM GOD for the destruction of Jerusalem according to ancient Jews? Hershel Shanks, writing in BAR, thinks so, on the basis of a passage in Sibylline Oracles 4 and a graffito from Pompeii:
The Destruction of Pompeii—God’s Revenge?

By Hershel Shanks

Nine years, almost to the day, after Roman legionaries destroyed God’s house in Jerusalem, God destroyed the luxurious watering holes of the Roman elite.

Was this God’s revenge?

That’s not exactly the question I want to raise, however. Rather, did anyone at the time see it that way? Did anyone connect the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 C.E. with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70?

I have a post on the eruption of Vesuvius here and one on Pompeii here that also involves the Sibylline Oracles, sort of. And here's a recent article on the pyroclastic surge that incinerated the inhabitants.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Jesus and Aramaic in the Gospels

ARAMAIC WATCH: Mark D. Roberts posts another installment of his series on the language(s) Jesus spoke: Jesus and Aramaic in the Gospels. (Earlier installment noted here.)

This one simplifies a little but is substantially accurate, although surprisingly he fails to mention the word ephphatha in Mark 7:34, which seems to be a dialectal variant of the Aramaic word "Be opened!"

A while ago I published an article on the problem of retroverting Hebrew or Aramaic from a Greek translation: "(How) Can We Tell if a Greek Apocryphon or Pseudepigraphon has been Translated from Hebrew or Aramaic?" Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha 15 (2005): 3-61. Despite the focus of the title, it also deals quite a lot with the New Testament material. Abstract:
This article explores a wide range of problems that arise when we try to retrovert a Hebrew or Aramaic original from a Greek text, or even establish that Semitic interference in the text proves it to have been translated from a Semitic original. These problems include the inadequacy of a bipolar scale of ‘literal’ vs. ‘free’ translation technique; the difficulty of distinguishing Semitic grammar from Greek grammar; the possibility of interference from the language of the LXX (including rare grammatical features made popular in liturgy and testimonia) or bilingual interference; and the need to determine, when possible, the language (Hebrew or Aramaic), dialect, and period of the Vorlage. Claims to have retroverted the original texts of lost Semitic documents from Greek texts are found unconvincing, but this article advances a methodology for establishing Semitic interference due to translation from a Semitic Vorlage.
That article requires a paid personal or institutional subscription to access, but you can read an earlier draft presented at a conference here. (Sorry for all the formatting glitches. They were introduced in our latest site "upgrade.")

Alexander's footsteps

Alexander's Footsteps: A Lost City in Lebanon
By IT Blog [Intelligent Traveler blog, National Geographic]
on July 6, 2010 10:30 AM | Comments (2)

After working as a reporter in Cairo, Theodore May wanted to know more about the history, culture, and people of the Middle East. So he decided to explore it, and use one of history's conquerors as his guide. For the next eight months he'll be following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, tracing the 2,000-mile path Alexander forged through the modern Middle East. Theo will be writing about his experiences for The Global Post, and you can be follow him on Twitter at @Theodore_May. He'll be contributing glimpses from his journeys here at Intelligent Travel.

The Romans left a powerful archaeological footprint on the region--as sites like Baalbek and Palmyra attest--but evidence of a Greek legacy is more uncommon.

It is appropriate, then, that ancient Umm el-Amed should be found deep in a field of overgrown thorn bushes, only several miles from the tense Lebanon-Israel border.

A few weeks ago, I stopped by Dr. Paul Newson's office at the American University of Beirut to get some historical perspective on Alexander the Great's conquest through Lebanon. Newson, who has done extensive fieldwork throughout the Middle East, currently serves as a professor of archaeology at AUB.

Not long into our conversation, Newson suggested we visit the Umm el-Amed site, a place neither of us had been.

Umm el-Amed is a Hellenistic-era Phoenician site which has produced some notable discoveries, such as the Baalshamar funerary stele (scroll down). Here's a JSTOR review of the site report in the 1960s from the Journal of Biblical Literature which gives an overview of the site. (Cross-file under Phoenician Watch.)

Mr. May's expedition should lead to some significant sites and I will try to keep an eye on it.

Ashkelon fallout, continued

FALLOUT from the removal of the Ashkelon graves may be spreading to the United States:
Satmar (Williamsburg) To Protest Outside White House Tuesday

(Tuesday, July 6th, 2010) (Asra Kaddisha press release at Yeshiva World)

Thousands of Orthodox Jews are targeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Washington, DC, demanding Netanyahu to stop Archaeological excavations and construction in the Holy Land that is desecrating ancient Jewish cemeteries in gross violation of Jewish law. The leaders also denounced the Israeli police’s beatings of peaceful demonstrators protesting the clearing of five ancient cemeteries and continued action to empty a cemetery in Jaffa in order to construct a hotel.

Rabbi Lazar Stern, a spokesman for Asra Kadisha, a worldwide group dedicated to protecting the integrity of Jewish cemeteries, said the leaders plan to protest outside the White House, and to deliver petitions to the Israeli embassy, during Netanyahu’s July 6th visit

The Central Rabbinical Congress, which represents Orthodox Jewry, helped organize the day of protest in Washington in support of Asra Kadisha.

“We believe that the desecration of the dead could bring grave danger to the living,” said Rabbi Stern.

Asra Kadisha has brought international pressure to bear in their efforts to stop the desecration of cemeteries throughout Europe – most recently in Spain, the Czech Republic and the Ukraine – and finds it unbearable painful that similar desecration’s are taking place in the Holy Land.

Dr. Bernard Fryshman, of the Conference of Academicians for the Protection of Jewish Cemeteries, reported that suitable engineering alternative had been provided to all of the burial sites recently excavated in Ashkalon, Nazareth and now in Jaffo.

Background on the removal of the graves, which do not seem to have been Jewish, is here (and follow the links).

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Late-antique Gospels in Ge'ez

LATE-ANTIQUE GOSPELS IN GE'EZ: Okay, this one isn't about Aramaic, although I do manage to bring it into the discussion.
Unearthed, the ancient texts that tell story of Christianity

A British bookbinder has restored ancient copies of the gospels dating back to the fourth century, writes Jerome Taylor

Tuesday, 6 July 2010 (The Independent)

for the handful of hardy travellers who make it to the Abuna Garima monastery in Ethiopia's Tigrai Highlands, there is a book that local monks believe holds magic properties.

Kept under lock and key in a bright-blue circular hut at the centre of the isolated monastery, the Garima Gospels are one of the Christian world's oldest and most exquisite treasures. Until recently, scholars had always assumed that the two 10-inch-thick volumes, which are written on goat skin and brightly illustrated, dated back to the early 11th century. But recent carbon-testing has proved what the monks believed all along: the books are among the oldest gospels in existence.

New dating techniques have put the creation of the two books to somewhere between 330 and 650, making them a close contender to being the most ancient complete Christian texts. The only major collection of scripture that is known to be older is the Codex Sinaiticus, a copy of the Bible hand-written in Greek which dates back to the third century. Unlike the Garima Gospels, the Codex includes large chunks of the Old Testament, but the entire work is divided between museums and monasteries in Egypt, Britain, Russia and the USA.

The Garima Gospels, meanwhile, have been in one piece in the same place for the best part of 1,600 years, guarded by generations of monks from Muslim invaders, colonial conquerors and a fire in the 1930s which destroyed their church.

The monks have their own legend about how the gospels came into their possession. They believe they were written by Abba Garima, a Byzantine royal who arrived in what was then the kingdom of Axum in 494 and went on to found the monastery. According to the monks, Abba Garima finished his exquisite work in a single day because God stopped the sun from setting while he worked.

The Ethiopian Heritage Fund, a British charity which specialises in preserving the myriad of stunning artefacts that fill Ethiopia's monasteries, has recently finished restoring the two books to bring them back to their former glory.


The books themselves are written in Ge'ez, an ancient Ethiopian Semitic language and consist of three manuscripts in two volumes. Both contain the four gospels and one of the volumes has added pages from a 15th century manuscript.

This is being reported as possibly the earliest surviving illustrated Christian text. But it must also be one of the earliest surviving manuscripts of a Ge'ez text. Some important Old Testament pseudepigrapha survive only in Ge'ez, alas only in medieval and early modern manuscripts. These include 1 Enoch (parts also survive in Greek and Qumran fragments of the original Aramaic) and Jubilees (quotes in Greek survive, as well as Qumran fragments of the original Hebrew). This is a very important discovery for Ethiopic studies and it makes me wonder if there might be comparably early pseudepigrapha manuscripts in Ge'ez lying unnoticed somewhere. I hope so.

UPDATE: Title reworded for accuracy (the possible date range seems to be the fourth to seventh centuries).

What languag(es) did Jesus speak?

ARAMAIC DAY: Mark D. Roberts is posting a new series on What Languag(es) Did Jesus Speak? at Beliefnet. Hint: the title of this post is relevant.

Art inspired by the Jewish Aramaic incantation bowls

ARAMAIC DAY: Art inspired by the Jewish Aramaic incantation bowls:
Sex, Magic, And Secrets In A Bowl

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 0:15 GMT
SAN FRANCISCO (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – All the sex, magic, and secret desires a woman has hidden inside her can now be found in a big, giant bowl.

The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco is bringing insight into the deep, dark secrets of femininity with their upcoming exhibit, The Bowls Project: Secrets of the Apocalyptic Intimate, which opens today (Jul. 6) and runs until August 22.

Artist Jewlia Eisenberg and her ensemble, known as “Charming Hostess,” have created an interactive sound sculpture and performance installation at Yerba Buena.

Visitors can enter a dome-like room which Eisenberg describes as a “private place to share secrets and a public forum” for intimate live music and ancient rituals, sounds, and projected video images.

She explains that the project is inspired by Babylonian Jewish women’s amulets known as “demon bowls,” and is meant to help people connect with their bodies, souls, and minds.

© Copyright 2010 Wireless Flash News Inc
Only in California. For the Aramaic incantation bowls, go here (sorry for all the link rot) and here. For more Aramaic in current popular culture, see the immediately preceding post here.

Cross-file under "Can't make it up."

Jewish mysticism and magic in Harry Potter trailer

ARAMAIC DAY: Nina Amir finds Jewish mystical (and magical) themes in the new Harry Potter trailer:
While some religions, Christianity included, don’t approve of magic, and some parents won’t let their children read the Harry Potter books or see the movies, Judaism has a long history of magic. Although Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah, was not (and is not) only used for magic, stories of the golem and such do come from this magical Kabbalistic tradition. We are told that the magical Kabbalistic tradition actually must be used only by those most knowledgeable and only on rare and special occasions. The other types of Kabbalah, theoretical and practical, can be used by anyone and are extremely useful. You will find Kabbalah in many aspects of Judaism, such as in the daily prayer services.

Words like “abracadabra,” which have been used by magicians for years, have their origins in Judaism. This Aramaic word literally means “He has created as he has spoken”—or manifestation according to the power of words. This word comes from the verb “daber,” which refers to organizing “speech.” Thus, when the magician says something—casts the spell or incantation—things are created by making order out of chaos. No wonder so many magicians have chosen this word as their incantation when creating something from nothing. Aramaic preceded Hebrew and was spoken by many during the Biblical period.
For the etymology of Abracadabra, see here and follow the links.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy St. Cyril and Methodius Day - again


From Wikipedia, Saints Cyril and Methodius:
"Saints Cyril and Methodius Day" is a holiday, usually celebrated on 11 May (24 May) in countries which observe Eastern Orthodox tradition, and on 5 July in countries that observe Roman Catholic tradition. It commemorates the creation of the Slavic Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets by the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius. There is evidence that the Cyrillic alphabet was not created by Cyril and Methodius but by their pupil, Clement of Ohrid, but the alphabet bears Cyril's name nonetheless, and the evidence is still not enough to disprove that.) The celebration also commemorates the introduction of literacy and the preaching of the gospels in the Slavonic language by the brothers.
A note of the earlier celebration, with links to background on Slavonic pseudepigrapha etc., is here.

Ben Witherington on the DSS

BEN WITHERINGTON, "that dude in the Dead Sea with the T-shirt," discusses the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

New Book: Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls

Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls: An Assessment of Old and New Approaches and Methods
Maxine L. Grossman (editor)

332 pages; dimensions (in inches): 6 x 9; 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8028-4009-7


Both within and outside the field of Qumran scholarship, the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls is sometimes treated as a rather specialized closed shop. By encouraging interdisciplinary and self-consciously methodological discussions, this volume intends to open that shop and invite new conversations across lines of interest, discipline, and scholarly subfield.

Fifteen respected DSS scholars representing diverse perspectives offer here a window into the scholarly study of these ancient texts. Rediscovering the Dead Sea Scrolls introduces readers to a wide range of established and experimental treatments of the Scrolls, including paleography, archaeology, manuscript analysis, and a variety of literary, historical, and social scientific approaches. The authors provide not only an introduction to a given approach but also a more self-reflective assessment of the limits of their approaches and the potential pitfalls associated with them.

In place of a single authoritative strategy, here are a variety of strategies — some overlapping and others standing alone — all the products of a process that is unusually collaborative. Taken as a whole, they provide a vibrant intersectional picture of DSS studies on the cusp of its seventh decade.


1. Martin G. Abegg Jr.
2. James R. Davila
3. Steve Delamarter
4. Maxine L. Grossman
5. Charlotte Hempel
6. Jutta Jokiranta
7. Jonathan Klawans
8. Robert Kugler
9. Hayim Lapin
10. Jodi Magness
11. Sarianna Metso
12. Carol A. Newsom
13. Eibert Tigchelaar
14. Eugene Ulrich
15. Bruce Zuckerman
I have contributed an essay on counterfactual history and the Dead Sea Scrolls, which, if nothing else, will confirm my reputation for thinking outside the box. You can read an early draft of that essay here.

Congratulations to Professor Maxine Grossman, who put a huge effort into the organizing and editing of this book, as well as to the other authors.

Happy Independence Day

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to my American readers.