Friday, May 15, 2015

Hebrew Word of the Week: Mammon.


by Yona Sabar
Mammon is not in the Bible, where other words are used, such ashon ve-’osher be-veto, “Wealth and riches are in his house” (of the righteous) (Psalms 112:3), but it is very common in (Aramaic),Targumim and rabbinic literature. It may come from ma’mon “trust, deposit.”

In Christianity, however, Mammon* has been associated with covetousness of wealth, the seventh sin (Matthew 6:24: You cannot serve God and mammon).

In modern Hebrew, mamon is quite common with regard to financial and property business, such as mimmen, “financed”; mimmun, “financing”; mamonay, “financier”; mamoni, “monetary”; anddine’ mamonot, “civil (property) laws.”

*Some Hebrew-Aramaic names and nouns entered English (via Latin-Greek), from the New Testament, such as Thomas, “twin (brother)” and abba, “father.”

Yona Sabar is a professor of Hebrew and Aramaic in the department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at UCLA.

Article found here.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Christian Community's Struggle to Survive.

By Kinda Jayoush

Touma, her husband, and their three children preferred the risk of living in Maaloula to the pain of leaving home.


Rana Touma and her three children were living in Damascus when they received a coffee mug with a picturesque image of Maaloula. Their eyes filled with tears because they feared they would never again see their hometown.

In December 2013, armed rebel groups, including Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra, attacked Maaloula, an ancient Christian enclave. The town prided itself on being the last place on earth where people speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ.

For months to follow, clashes between rebel groups and government forces destroyed most of the town's historic homes, churches and monasteries. Rebels kidnapped 13 nuns and killed those who resisted. Residents were forced to flee their homes. In a country where Christians are perceived to be disappearing or under threat of attack, it raised questions about the community's very survival.

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Israel recognises "Aramaics" as separate ethnic group!

JISH, Israel, Nov 9 (Reuters) - In the green hills of the Galilee, where Jesus is said to have preached two thousand years ago, a group of Aramaic speakers looking to revive the language of Christ are celebrating a victory in their quest to safeguard their heritage.

In a place where tensions run high on issues of ethnicity, faith and citizenship, members of the Christian sect have won the right to change their designation in the population registry from "Arab" to a newly-created ethnic classification: "Aramaic."

The group that sought the change is small, a few hundred people at most, but their campaign is part of a larger debate on issues of identity in the Holy Land and Israel's treatment of its Arab minority.

Supporters say Israel's agreement to allow the group to define itself as "Aramaic" is a sign of ethnic tolerance.

But critics call it an attempt by the government to encourage splits within its Arab population, which largely defines itself as Palestinian and makes up about a fifth of the country's 8.2 million citizens.

Others say it is also another reflection of the reality for Arabs in Israel, where many Arab citizens say they are discriminated against.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Culture Dispute Is All Aramaic to Us.Why Do Arab Israeli Christians Lobby For a New Identity?

The interior of the house of a Christian family in Jerusalem, ca. 1850. 
 Some of you may have been following the stories from Israel about a small group of Christian Arabs from the Galilee successfully petitioning the Israeli Ministry of Interior to register them as “Aramaeans” rather than Arabs. Led by a Greek Orthodox priest, Gabriel Nadaf, this same group has also been active in encouraging young Israeli Christian Arabs to volunteer for service in the Israeli army and has been vocal in its pro-Israel, anti-Arab sentiments. As a result, it has come under heavy fire from Israeli Arab politicians and some Israeli Christian church leaders, who have accused its members of being quislings.


You may ask how serious all this can be. After all, Aramaic (or Syriac, as it also is called), though once dominant throughout the Middle East before being pushed out by Arabic, has not been spoken in the Galilee, or anywhere else in Israel, for centuries. (Although no one knows exactly when its last speakers vanished, this was clearly long ago.) In another generation or two, indeed, it may no longer be spoken by anyone anywhere, because it is faced with the prospect of extinction. The number of its users, formerly many millions, has dwindled to a few hundred thousand, nearly all of whom are bilingual and many of whom are raising their children in Arabic. Moreover, these speakers divide into two main populations — a larger one, mostly in northern Iraq, speaking “eastern Aramaic,” and a much smaller one in southwestern Syria, speaking “western Aramaic” — both of which are living in war zones and have been badly affected by the fighting. Almost entirely Christian, they have been targeted by Islamic forces and many have fled or immigrated to places where Aramaic is not spoken.


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Dale Allen Hoffman to appear at Center for Spiritual Living in Morristown

The Center for Spiritual Living Morristown will present acclaimed Aramaic teacher Dale Allen Hoffman for two days of events at Center for Spiritual Living Morristown on Sunday, Nov. 2 and Monday, Nov. 3. The Center for Spiritual Living Morristown is located at 331 Mount Kemble Ave., Morristown.

On Sunday, Nov. 2, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Hoffman will present “ENANA: Living from the I Am” (two hours – $25 per person – includes 15 minute mid-workshop break)
When Yeshua (Jesus) made statements such as "I Am the Way, and the Truth and the Life" or "I Am the Light of the world", was He speaking about Himself as the only path to salvation or was He actually referring to a Presence which rests quietly within each and every one of us? When viewed in His native ancient Aramaic language, the words "I Am" (Aramaic "Enana") translate directly into modern English as "I – I" or the "I within the I". Yeshua’s universal teachings come alive when understood within the cultural context in which He spoke them as we awaken to the realization that many of our modern interpretations of His teachings are in fact very clearly 100 percent perfectly opposite of their meaning in His native ancient Aramaic tongue.

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