Multimedia exhibit focusing on Samaritans premiers in New York

The Samaritans: A Biblical People showcases contemporary work by artists from the Jewish Art Salon

 ‘THE SAMARITANS: A Biblical People’  (photo credit: AVI KUMAR)
‘THE SAMARITANS: A Biblical People’
(photo credit: AVI KUMAR)

NEW YORK – A multimedia exhibit documenting Samaritan culture opened this week in the Yeshiva University Museum at the Center for Jewish History.

The Samaritans: A Biblical People showcases contemporary work by artists from the Jewish Art Salon. In addition, the documentary, The Samaritans: A Biblical People, ha-Shomronim: Edah. Torah. Har, produced by Israeli filmmaker Moshe Alafi, premiered as part of the exhibition.

The exhibit was organized by Dr. Steven Fine, professor of Jewish History and director of Yeshiva University’s Center for Israel Studies. He and a multidisciplinary team spent six years with this Middle-Eastern community.

“This is an opportunity to bring the Samaritan story into wider circulation,” he said. “There has been some great scholarship about Samaritans in the last hundred or so years, but very few actually went mainstream.

“They are not Jews or Arabs. In fact, they carry both Israeli and Palestinian ID cards and number only 850 people,” Fine said. “Knowing that the remnants of this 3,600 year ancient community still exists, simply causes a light bulb to go off in your head. And then we think of the issues of continuity and our own narrative. It makes you analyze what it is to be Jewish, – what the Torah truly is.”

Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women (credit: BEYOND MY KEN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women (credit: BEYOND MY KEN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Ben Sedaka, a 77-year-old Samaritan elder and scholar based in Holon, said that the exhibition is “a great way to get a glance of our history and culture and learn more about it. Fine is an amazing individual and we are truly grateful for his work, highlighting our community’s history.”

The exhibit will move to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, on September 15 and then next year to the Bibelhaus Museum in Frankfurt, Germany.