The gate swung open and I was cordially ushered inside to an ornate living room. Within minutes, the white-bearded High Priest entered, wearing a grey robe and red turban. A dignified man in his early 80s, he was accompanied by his deputy High Priest and members of his family. He motioned for me to sit next to him on a sofa. The audience had begun. "What can I do for you?" he asked with genteel formality.PaleoJudaica has mentioned Mr. Tsedaka off and on over many years, most recently here. For more on Samaritan Passover, see here and links. And for many other past posts on the Samaritans, run "Samaritan Watch" through the PaleoJudaica search engine.
The meeting was very friendly, until I mentioned that I had once eaten camel. The High Priest grew ashen and his family looked away, as though embarrassed.
"Eating camel is worse than eating pig!" he bellowed.
He said I had to atone and do penance. I swore I’d never eat camel again. The meeting was clearly over. Completely deflated, I began skulking out of the room in shame. The High Priest burst out laughing. "It's been enjoyable meeting… a camel-eater,” he said.
[Ms. Fein's contact Benjamin] Tsedaka later told me that after I left, the High Priest asked if the camel-eater had got home safely.
Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.