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Holier than Thou? The Temples at Tel Motza

Hosted By: Volunteers for Israel (VFI)

In this program, Shua will discuss The Temples at Tel Motza and Their Implication for the Understanding of the Development of Cult and Religion in Judah during the First Temple Period. The recent discovery of a series of temples from the First Temple Period at Tel Motza near Jerusalem has rejuvenated the debate on the formation of religion in ancient Judah and Israel. The new findings include a monumental temple complex strikingly similar to the Solomonic Temple in Jerusalem mentioned in the biblical texts. These findings, which include an altar, the remains of sacrificial offerings, and cultic artifacts, afford us an unparalleled opportunity to examine the development of cultic traditions in Judah based on tangible finds. They indicate that the temple in Jerusalem was neither the only temple in Judah, nor was it necessarily the first.

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Shua Kisilevitz

Shua Kisilevitz  studied archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (B.A., M.A.), and is currently a PhD candidate and adjunct lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and an archaeologist in the Jerusalem Region of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Shua was co-director of the 2012-2013 salvage excavations at Tel Motza, during which the temple was identified, and initiated the Tel Motẓa Expedition Project together with professor Oded Lipschits in 2019, on behalf of Tel Aviv University. Her work on the Motẓa temples in recent years has led her to focus primarily on the study of iconography and the development of cult/religion in the region of Judah during the Iron Age, with particular interest in their correlation with industry/economy and the rise of structured social and political communities and elites in the southern Levant during this period.
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Volunteers for Israel (VFI)

Volunteers for Israel (VFI) is the only American organization that creates opportunities for civilian volunteers to serve on Israeli Defence Force bases. VFI partners with Israeli military and civilian organizations that enable volunteers to work side-by-side with Israel's soldiers, providing non-combat support to help maintain the readiness of the IDF to defend Israel. VFI enables the IDF to allocate more of its manpower and finances to military tasks, boosts morale within the IDF, and strengthens personal connections to Israel.
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