Samaritan History, Traditions Subject of Talk
Samaritans, their history, customs and traditions were the subject of a February 27, 2013 presentation jointly sponsored by the Samaritan Myth Society and Birzeit University’s Public Relations Office, Department of History and Archeology and Cultural Studies Department.
Opening the lecture, Deputy Director of Public Relations Lubna Abdel Hadi welcomed guests, saying that the topic of the talk was critical in exposing students to various cultures and religions, thus cultivating respect.
Professor of History and Archeology Hamed Salem gave some historical background, saying that the Samaritan sect is not only one of the oldest religious communities in the world but also one of the smallest in numbers, with its community numbering only a few hundred. Still, he said, the group has managed to maintain a separate identity.
A founder of the Samaritan Myth Society Ehab Yousef presented an overview of the society, its goals and its objectives, noting that it was founded by a group of young and conscientious Samaritans seeking to support their culture and future.
Society President Yacoub Kahin presented the history and pillars of the Samaritan religion, which is based on the oneness of God, the prophecy of Moses and the Torah (the five books of Moses).
Kahin also described Samaritan rituals, including prayer, marriage and holidays, adding that the Samaritan language is the ancient Hebrew language, comprising 22 letters read from right to left, and close to the Aramaic and Arabic languages.
Later, a film about Samaritan rituals and customs was screened, followed by questions and answers.