Posted on: July 2, 2012
Welcome back to The Jewish Geography Project!
The past few weeks has been pretty amazing. I wrote articles for two prominent Jewish online publications and interviewed with two international media outlets. I’ve been talking about race, racism and the Jewish people and try as I might, I sometimes give into the temptation and read the comments that people have left. As I scroll through comments of people accusing me of being a racist, an anti-Semite, and a self-promoter I am given more ammunition to do what I do and it becomes more abundantly clear that what I’m doing is important work.
The issue of racism isn’t unique to Judaism any more than it is to Christianity or Islam-it’s a human issue, not a religious issue. I believe that at at the core all religion (all) is pure and perfect. It is our very existence and our need as human beings to understand the incomprehensible that religion and religious people take issue. Our need to pull ourselves up and above others, our need for power, our need to prove our superiority inevitably means that we’re putting someone below us in order to stay on top. It would be great if religion would or could supersede this human desire to one-up, but we’re not immune just because we’re Jews.
The purpose of the articles, this blog and The Jewish Geography Project isn’t to shake a finger in your face, it’s not to bash you over the head and tell you you’re wrong and I’m right. I write, I bring up tough issues, I’m doing this project to show the history of our people, the ethnic diversity of our people, the beauty of our people in the hopes of holding a mirror to how we see ourselves now as 21st Century Jews.
Thank you for your words, both critical and favorable. I hope you’ll continue the conversation.
We’ve traveled over 12,500 miles!
The purpose of the Jewish Geography Project is to paint a picture of what our earliest Jewish ancestors looked like to challenge the notion of what a Jew looks like using Torah, the backbone of our faith, as a guide. We left our ancient people right around modern-day Baghdad.
“(The [original] Cannanite territory extended from Sidon as far as Gerar, near Gaza as far as Sodom, Gommorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, near Lasha) Bere’shit 10:19
“Canaan is an ancient term for a region approximating present-day Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, plus adjoining coastal lands and parts of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.”-New World Encyclopedia
“Sidon or Saïda (Arabic: صيدا, Ṣaydā; Phoenician: , Ṣydwn; Greek: Σιδών; Latin: Sidon; Hebrew: צידון, Ṣīḏōn, Turkish: Sayda) is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km (25 mi) north of Tyre and 40 km (25 mi) south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the grandson of Noah. Its name coincides with the modern Arabic word for fishery.” “The historical existence of Sodom and Gomorrah is still in dispute by archaeologists, as little archaeological evidence has ever been found in the regions where they were supposedly situated. The Bible indicates they were located near the Dead Sea (Genesis 14:1-3, 14:8-10, 34:3).”-Wikipedia
“There settlements extended from Mesha as far as Sephar, the hill country to the east.” Bere’shit 10:30
“Everyone on earth had the same language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.” Bere’shit 11:1-2
“Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot the son of Haran and his daughter-in-law, Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan; but when they had come as far as Haran, they settled there.” Bere’shit 11:31
Ur (Sumerian: Urim; Sumerian Cuneiform: 𒋀𒀕𒆠 URIM2KI or 𒋀𒀊𒆠 URIM5KI; Akkadian: Uru) was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq‘s Dhi Qar Governorate. Once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, Ur is now well inland, south of the Euphrates on its right bank, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Nasiriyah.
Haran, Charan, or Charran (Hebrew: חָרָן) is a Biblical place. Haran is almost universally identified with Harran, an Assyrian city whose ruins are in present-day Turkey. In the Hebrew Bible, the name first appears in the Book of Genesis, in the context of Patriarchal times. It appears again in 2 Kings and Isaiah in a late 8th to early 7th century BC context, and also in the Book of Ezekiel in a 6th century BC context. In the New Testament, Haran is again mentioned in the Book of Acts, in a recounting of the story in Genesis wherein it first appears.
Another 1300 miles we go!
Lekh Lekha comes next, and I think it warrants its own blog. Join me again for another addition of the Jewish Geography Project!