Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Funny, He Didn't Look Jewish
-- Readers Identify the "Rabbi" as a Samaritan Priest

The caption reads "Jew with a Torah."  Actually, the man is a
Samaritan priest and the scroll is the Samaritan bible. (Torrance
collection, Medical Archives, University of Dundee)
Several Israel Daily Picture readers responded immediately and identified the man in the picture.

Yoni wrote: "The 'Jew' with a Torah Scroll is in fact a Samaritan Cohen from Mt. Gerizim, above Shchem (Nablus). They have the 5 books of Moses (Torah) in similar casings as do Sephardi Jews, and therefore the confusion." 

[A similar response came from reader BLS.]

We present this picture to introduce a large collection of photographs from the Scottish University of Dundee's medical archives and database, entitled "Unlocking the Medicine Chest."  Amidst the historical medical records from many Scottish hospitals, clinics, infirmaries and universities is an entry Herbert Watt Torrance, Medical Missionary (1892-1977)

Dr. Herbert Torrance succeeded his father Dr. David Watt Torrance, a Scottish doctor and missionary, who established the Scots Missionary Hospital in Tiberias in the 1880s.  The two doctors were dedicated to treating the poor of the Galilee -- Christians, Muslim and Jews.  They also documented and photographed the diseases and injuries they encountered such as leprosy, anthrax, typhoid, and deformities, to name a few.

The collection also includes dozens of 100-year-old pictures of the elderly and poor Jews of Tiberias, early photographs of the town, and damage to Tiberias from natural calamities.  Watch for these pictures at www.israeldailypicture.com in the next weeks.

Back to the Samaritans

Samaritan priest (American
In case anyone has doubts about the true identity of the Torrance's "Jew," view the pictures of Samaritan priests we have posted here in the past.  Note the turbans.
Samaritan priest (American Colony
Also note the scrolls' covering and handles. The scroll and chair in the Torrance picture actually provide the best proofs. Compare the shape, the arms, the metal tacks on the upholstery and compare it to the chair in this picture from a Samaritan synagogue.  They may be the same chair. 
Samaritan synagogue in Shchem
(Library of
Congress collection)

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