The Samaritans ( in Hebrew – שומרונים in Arabic – السامريون ) are the remnant of the ancient northern Kingdom of Israel, descendants of the tribes Joseph, Menashe, and Levi, who have remained in Samaria (‘Shomron’) and survived the Assyrian exile in the years 721-722 BCE.
The Samaritans still keep on the original Pentateuch, written in ancient Hebrew script; adhere to the sacred place – Mount Gerizim (הרגריזים in one word) and still observe the ancient tradition of the people of Israel.
Our real name is, ‘Bene- Yisrael Ha -Shamerem’ (שמרים- -שמרים ) – in Hebrew , which means ‘The Keepers‘, or to be precise, the Israelite – Keepers, as we observe the ancient Israelite tradition, since the time of our prophet Moses and the people of Israel. The modern terms, ‘Samaritans’ and ‘Jews’, given by the Assyrians, indicate the settlement of the Samaritans in the area of Samaria, and the Jews in the area of Judah.
Five Principles of faith.
As descendants of the real Israelites , we have five Principles of faith:
- One and only one God – The Lord of the people of Israel
- One and only one Prophet – Moses son of Amram.
- One Holy Torah – The Holy Pentateuch . Only the first five books of the Torah, written by Moses and observed by the priests of the people of Israel, till these days.
- One Holy Place –Mt. Gerizim – The Mountain of blessing, mentioned in the Torah. In our prayer service we keep saying “Mount Gerizim all the days of our life.
- The Vengeance Day –The belief in “The End Of Days” and the ‘Taheb’- the Saviour, a prophet like Moses, from the lineage of Joseph, who will show up at the end of the days.
The uniqueness of being a member of the Samaritan Community is by :
- Keeping the Commandments of the Torah, according to the Samaritan tradition, with emphasis on:
- Living in Israel (The ancient borders of the Holy Land)
As followers of the Torah, The Samaritans celebrate only the Seventh festivals mentioned in the Torah :
Because of the fact that our children, learn in a regular educational institutions, they still dress up in costumes on Purim, and eat doughnuts on Chanukah, but without any religious lineaments.
Two Main Centers of Samaritans.
Nowadays , the Samaritan Community that lives in Israel, numbers about 860 souls, divided between two main centers, one in Mt.Gerizim (near Nablus) and the second in Holon, near Tel-aviv.
The Samaritans in Holon, living in their own neighborhood which was established in 1952, and occupied by mostly Samaritans, with few Jewish families. Some new couples have found their place, in the attached neighborhood, within walking distance from the Samaritan one.
Most of the Samaritans in Holon, earn their living, from Israeli companies. There is no specific Samaritan occupation. Among the Samaritans are found : Bankers, Marketing agents , Software programmers, Accountants, Managers etc’.
The Samaritans on Mount Gerizim, living in Luza ,which was established in 1987. Till that point, they used to live in the Samaritan neighborhood in Nablus. This happened after several occurrences during the First Intifada.
Some of the Samaritans on Mt. Gerizim, earn living, by being self employed, within the Palestinian Authority, while others work for various entities around Nablus.
At the Head of the community, stands the High Priest, who is the oldest priest among the Priestly family. He is the only arbiter in religious matters and the leader of our religious ceremonies.
We also have our unique ancient music, our unique cuisine, our unique liturgy, unique literature, unique art, and our unique clothing during Sabbath and Holidays . Go ahead, and browse the site for more information.
See also :
- The schism between Samaritans and Jews
- The Persian era
- The Hellenistic Period
- The Byzantine Period – 324 C.E – 638 C.E
- The Roman Period (63 B.C.E – ~324 C.E)
- The Return of the Diaspora Samaritans to Nablus at the End of the Middle Ages / by Natahan Schur
- Photo Gallery