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A lecture series as part of the Khamsa Khamsa Khamsa Exhibition

A lecture series as part of the Khamsa Khamsa Khamsa Exhibition

Admission to the Lectures included in the Entry Fee to the Museum


Prof. Shalom Tsabbar: Jewish Amulets, from Europe to the Islamic Countries

June 14 2018: Thursday 19:00 – participation included in entry fee to the museum.

About the textual and artistic content of amulets from Jewish communities in Europe, Islamic countries and the Spanish community in Eretz Israel, the purpose for which they were designed and how they were used, the similarities and differences between them, what their ornamentation reveals about the communities that made them, their magical textual sources etc. The lecture will be accompanied by a presentation of exhibits from private and public collections in Israel and around the world.


Dr. Ruvik Rosenthal: Black Cat? Khamsa Khamsa Khamsa! Language in the Service of Popular Beliefs

June 21 2018: Thursday 19:00 – participation included in entry fee to the museum.

The belief that the words we speak come true, impact on our lives for good or bad, and even determine our fate for life or death, lies behind the oath, the curse and the blessing. These three are forms of speech. For example, the expression “khamsa, khamsa, khamsa” is an attempt to influence luck by saying the words. Magic words and whispering are part of the language, and sometimes they are intralingual.

The lecture will look at the role played by language in the world of belief, and interfaces between popular beliefs and the use of language: expression such as “black cat” “Friday the thirteenth”. “against the Evil Eye” or “touch wood”, or other sayings infused with popularly-held beliefs, such as “oath” (shvuah), which comes from the number seven (shevah), “the holy trinity”, from the number three, and “khamsa” (five), blessings and greetings which include the word “mazal” (luck/fortune), curses as a means of performing magic, bewitching words and whispering, ethnic proverbs which represent popular beliefs, and names associated with belief in the power of the given name.

Dr. Ruvik Rosenthal is a writer and language researcher – the Hazira Haleshonit (Language Arena) web site.


Dr. Avishai Ben Haim: Mysticism and Kaballah in Jewish Culture, from Canaan to Rabbi Ovadiah

June 28 2018: Thursday 19:00 – participation included in entry fee to the museum.

Magic, kabbalists, babas, tikunim (corrections), blessings, curses, death curses and the internal tension between mysticism and rationalism in Judaism. The lecture will portray the long, winding and strife-ridden road between mysticism and rationalism, which has long and timeworn roots which appear as back as in the Bible and in Talmudic literature. Rabbi Ovadiah Yossef lived in a world in which the historic battle between mysticism and rationalism had already been settled, ending in the victory of the holy Ari and his followers over the great vulture, the Rambam. With the emergence of modernism, it seemed that mysticism would be defeated, but, surprisingly, it was in the state of Israel that it enjoyed a renaissance.

Dr. Avishai Ben Haim appears on the Channel 10 television channel as an expert on ultra-orthodox Jewry and as a doctor of Jewish philosophy from the Jewish Philosophy Department of the Hebrew University.

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