Hamsa. A hamsa is an amulet shaped like a hand, with three extended fingers in the middle and a curved thumb or pinky finger on either side. It is thought to protect against the “evil eye” and is a popular motif in both Jewish and Middle Eastern jewelry.
Kugel is a baked Ashkenazi Jewish casserole most commonly made from egg noodles or potatoes. I am Episcopalian and my husband is Jewish. After attending several of the Jewish holiday dinners, I made it a mission to learn to make one of the dishes well. I tried about 10 different kugel recipes, and finally came up with two that are not only enjoyed but always requested. With Passover on the horizon -- plus a request for an explanation of what kugel was by a friend -- I though it was time to…
The synagogue at Hammath was probably constructed in the early 300’s CE. The figured mosaic is about the size of the gallery portion in Neve Shalom’s main space. The mosaic incorporates the zodiac wheel, also found in non-Jewish buildings, into a bigger composition with three main sections leading to the ark niche. This composition describes Jewish themes and principles. The first section has donor names in Greek flanked by lions on each side of the text.
The synagogue was found in the northern part of Zippori. These mosaics are different than the other mosaics that have been found in Zippori. Built during the first half of the 5th c. C.E. the most significant remnant of the synagogue is the "long carpet" of its mosaic floor with depictions of a zodiac and common Jewish symbols like the Holy Ark with a seven-branched Menorah on either of its sides, and also biblical scenes, including tabernacle/temple depictions of the binding of Isaac.