Friday, December 09, 2005
By Nadav Shragai When the "new Sanhedrin" was established in Tiberias a year ago, hardly anyone took it seriously. The 71 rabbis who came to the northern city 1,660 years after the original Sanhedrin (the assembly of 71 ordained scholars that was both supreme court and legislature in Talmudic times) held its last meeting there, were welcomed by many in the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox sectors with smiles tinged with derision.
The declaration of the Sanhedrin's reestablishment was perceived as both a curiosity on the margins of the right and as a rebellion against halakhic conventions; as a perhaps daring step, but one that was also a warning; far-reaching, but to a large extent provocative.
The fact that the leading Torah scholars of this generation, or those who are identified as such, took no part in this pretentious venture posed many questions about the new Sanhedrin's source of power and authority. The founding rabbis, most of them fairly anonymous, did agree in writing to vacate their places in favor of rabbis who are greater Torah scholars, as soon as some are found willing to serve.
Advertisement Nevertheless, the initial impression was that this was another effort by the Jewish Leadership movement within the Likud, an effort that had a Torah-oriented, halakhic-messianic slant and was striving for a revolution in the government.
The man who headed the new venture was Hillel Weiss, a professor of literature and one of the leaders of Jewish Leadership, who nearly twenty years ago reinstated another ancient practice: the traditional hakhel gathering, which took place once every seven years at the end of the Sukkot festival, the year after an agricultural Sabbatical (shmitta) year, and was attended by the king of Israel.
The first hakhel gathering organized by Weiss at the Western Wall plaza in 1987 was attended by then-president Chaim Herzog, prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar, chief rabbis Avraham Shapira and Mordechai Eliahu and many other dignitaries. It has been repeated twice since, once every seven years.
A year after its establishment, it is impossible to see the new Sanhedrin as the domain of the extreme right wing alone: at a large gathering in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood Tuesday, Rabbi Adin Even Israel Steinsaltz, a well-known Talmud scholar who is much esteemed in Torah circles, both in the ultra-Orthodox world and in the national-religious sector, came forward as the president of the Sanhedrin.
Steinsaltz avoided delving into politics and spoke about gradually building up the ancient institution, which would take several generations, he said. The very fact that he is leading the new Sanhedrin can be considered a dramatic event, given the numerous efforts in the last few years to strengthen the Jewish character of the state, integrate into it elements of Hebrew law and to combat the idea of a state for all its citizens.
The fact that the new Sanhedrin also includes many rabbis affiliated with the ultra-Orthodox stream, added to the fact that they are not among the best known and leading rabbis in that sector, endows the effort with another unusual dimension that distances it from being another "extreme right-wing" venture.
In its first year, the new Sanhedrin initiated a dialogue with the Ministry of Education over the Bible and Scriptures curriculum; set up a "High Council for the Sons of Noah," whose task it is to establish contact with non-Jewish communities seeking to observe the Noahide laws - the seven commandments given to the sons of Noah, or all mankind, which non-Jews are obligated to uphold according to halakha.
The Sanhedrin also discussed at length the physical location of the altar and Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount and dealt with the question of whether in our generation, Jews abroad must continue to observe the second festival day of the Diaspora, an additional day that is added to each of the three pilgrimage festivals - Sukkot, Passover and Shevuot.
The new Sanhedrin sharply attacked the disengagement plan and recently ruled that three minors who asked it for a ruling had acted properly when they refused to be tried in a court not based on Torah law.
"We hereby instruct you to continue your refusal, and the One who releases prisoners will release you from your confinement," the rabbis wrote them. In another ruling, the Sanhedrin's "Court for Matters of Nationhood and State" permitted a family from the evacuated community of Sa-Nur to accept compensation from the state for their evacuation, "even though this was an unjust law forced on the expellees."
According to halakha, in order to revive the Sanhedrin, "ordination" is required, i.e., the ordination of members by others who are greater and wiser Torah scholars, to serve on the Supreme Court as necessary.
The first ordination, you may recall, was that of Joshua Bin Nun, whom Moses ordained. Other famous ordinations over the course of the generations included the "five elders": Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Yossi and Rabbi Eliezer Ben Shamu'a, who were ordained by Yehuda Ben Baba, between the towns of Usha and Shfaram.
Ordination ended in Israel when the yeshivas closed and the Sanhedrin stopped functioning. The last people ordained no longer placed their hands on their students' heads, because of the restrictions imposed by the Roman government.
Maimonides wrote that if all scholars in Israel agree to appoint scholars and ordain them, than these are ordained people and they may discuss matters of fines and punishment and may ordain others. However, even Maimonides did not see this as a fait accompli; he added that the matter needed to be "decided on."
In the 16th century, nearly all the Torah scholars in the land of Israel accepted the initiative of Rabbi Jacob Birav to resume ordination and reestablish the Sanhedrin. Rabbi Levy Ben Haviv, the rabbi of Jerusalem who was not informed of the plans, sabotaged the effort, and in the end Birav was forced to flee the country.
Upon the reestablishment of the state, the first minister of religion, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Hacohen Maimon, attempted to renew the Sanhedrin, but the opposition of the ultra-Orthodox sabotaged the effort.
It is therefore surprising that the first ordained person in modern times, who ostensibly authorized the convening of the new Sanhedrin, was an ultra-Orthodox figure - Rabbi Dov Levanoni of Jerusalem. The members of the new Sanhedrin present a video in which Rabbi Levanoni relates how he received the first ordination to take place since the time of Rabbi Yaakov Birav, from one of the leaders of the Eidah Haredit's Beit Din Zedek religious court, Rabbi Moshe Halberstam. Levanoni ordained two other rabbis, and they ordained four more.
Since each person can only ordain two people, it took almost a year to ordain the 120 men needed for the new Sanhedrin. Most of them were present at Tuesday's gathering in Hai Taib Street synagogue in Har Nof, to mark a year since the renewal of the ancient institution.
The new Sanhedrin is recognized by a very small public, and this is its Achilles heel. Rabbi Re'em Hacohen, the head of the hesder yeshiva in Otniel, who delivered the opening address at the meeting - he is not a member of the new Sanhedrin - sketched clear halakhic parameters that indicate the problems involved. According to him, it is not possible to resume the ordination without the consent of the entire Jewish people.
"The Sanhedrin is the foundation for the presence of the Divine spirit ... and until this body has representatives from the entire nation - and at the moment it does not have representatives of the entire nation, not even representatives of the religious, Torah observant segment of the nation, then it is problematic," Hacohen said. Like other speakers at the conference, he too feels that "today there is a total division between the executive and judicial branches, and the nation and the rabbinical court system is also not free of this plague." Nevertheless, he says, "The Sanhedrin cannot replace them until it draws its power from the entire nation."
The establishment of the new Sanhedrin reflects profound unhappiness with the way the Israeli legal system is run, there were harsh remarks to that effect at the conference. Rabbi Israel Rosen, the head of the Tsomet Institute of Halakha and Technology, which provides solutions to halakhic problems using technology, attacked the sections on religion and state, minorities and the status of the Supreme Court in the draft constitution proposed by the Israel Democracy Institute, for whom the "Supreme Court has become their Sanhedrin."
"But the Sanhedrin in its existing format," acknowledges Rosen, "is not serious. Even if in principle one accepts the need to revive the Sanhedrin, it should include authoritative halakhic scholars and Torah scholars of the first order. At the moment, it seems as if they have jumped too high."
Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, spiritual advisor to the ultra-Orthodox Nahal brigade and a member of the new Sanhedrin, accepts the criticism and defines the institution as "infrastructure only." Not everyone sees eye to eye with him. Hillel Weiss, who also has become one of the ordained members, says, "The goal of the new Sanhedrin is to become a source of authority for the Jewish people, and this is contrary to the accepted position of the left that the state of Israel is the source of this authority.
"I and many of my colleagues want to be part of this state, but not at the cost of our spiritual and physical destruction. This Sanhedrin draws together all the scars and injuries and anguish from the injustice and persecution that Jews endure here from the Supreme Court and whoever follows the Supreme Court and whoever pretends to maintain the rule of law here."
Rabbi Ratzon Arussi, the rabbi of Kiryat Ono and a member of the Supreme Rabbinical Council, also feels persecuted. On Tuesday, Arussi sharply criticized the Knesset and the court. He spoke about the "clash that is gaining momentum between Torah law and state law," and despaired over "barren dialogues with the secular side that ostensibly create understandings, which have no practical value for various connections to our heritage." The court, Arussi feels, "is today obligated only to the state, but not to its Jewish identity."
Arussi suggested setting red lines for this identity and announcing that if the Knesset does not incorporate them into legislation, all the religious parties will resign. Rabbi Dov Lior, the head of the Committee of Judea and Samaria Rabbis, said things at the conference that were even more far-reaching: "A collective of evil people is not part of the quorum ... every law against the Torah is invalid. There are forces of evil seeking to harm anything related to the sanctity of Israel, and the legal system is one area where the greatest desecration of God's name is occurring.
It is hard to know how long Steinsaltz will last as president of the new Sanhedrin. At the public session held on the first anniversary of the apparent reestablishment of the ancient institution, he appeared to be fighting internal opposition. He pointed out to those present that worldwide events couldn't happen in one fell swoop.
Jerusalem wasn't built in a day
"Before the flood, Noah built the ark and prepared to enter it for 120 years," he reminded the audience. "In order to move forward and no longer be defined as `an aborted fetus,' to become serious so we can say, `a child was born to us,' we need a lot of time. The mere mention of the name Sanhedrin is not a given. It is no longer a matter of a religious council, or a council for the cats on Emek Refaim Street. It's something that has historical meaning. A basic change, not of one small system, but of fundamental systems.
"It's no wonder that these things frighten people. There are people who are concerned about what is emerging here. And where is it headed? After we have made it through this year with no catastrophes occurring, even though there were some foolish comments and chuckling, we will intensify and strengthen our activities. We will do things with an eye toward future generations, not with a stopwatch and an annual calendar. The Jewish calendar is a calendar of thousands of years. A lot of patience and a lot of work are needed. I'd be happy if in another few years these chairs are filled by scholars who are greater than us and we can say: `I kept the chairs warm for you.'"
Steinsaltz used his position as president of the Sanhedrin to protest its involvement in politics. "I'm not afraid of the Supreme Court, the police or the attorney general. A rabbi is also permitted to engage in public issues, but to do so he has to have all the appropriate material before him, whether he is dealing with the kosher status of a chicken or the disengagement.
"When there is such a disengagement plan, and I don't have enough information about it, just as there is a commandment to speak out, there is a commandment to remain silent.
As a private person, I, just like every one of us, have understanding, but as a rabbi, dealing with political matters such as the disengagement is a mockery of the essence of the concept of a Sanhedrin.
"If I don't want to be a laughing-stock, then I won't express an opinion on every issue. These words of truth need to be said, so that this Sanhedrin does not become a branch of the Yesha Council (of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza) or of the Council for Peace and Security."
Its history and reinstatement
by Roy E. Hoffman
The Jewish legal system consisted and will consist of a big Sanhedrin of 71 judges that is like the high court, small Sanhedrins in each city consisting of 23 judges and batei din (law courts) of 3 judges. The members of batei din (with the exception of monetary cases) and any Sanhedrin must be smuchim (ordained).
Ideally, there should be a direct line of smichah (ordination) from Moses. (This smichah should not be confused with the examinations taken today in order to become a rabbi and are also called smichah.) However, line of smichah was lost shortly after the last Sanhedrin ceased to function about 1500 years ago. Hence, the batei din of recent times do not consist of smuchim and are restricted to monetary cases.
Renewing the smichah (according to Maimonides Hilkhot Sanhedrin 4:11,12) requires the agreement of all the Rabbis in Israel to somech (ordain) one person. That person can then somech others. All this must take place in Israel. An attempt was made to reintroduce the smichah in 1538 by Rabbi Yaakov Beirav of Safed but some Rabbis including the Ralbach (Rabbi Levy Chaviv of Jerusalem) objected. As a result, that smichah was never widely accepted, vanished within two generations and no Sanhedrin was ever formed.
Once there are 71 smuchim, they can form a big Sanhedrin and they could appoint three smuchim to change the calendar. According to the simple interpretation of Maimonides (Hilkhot Kiddush Hachodesh 5:2) the calendar change should happen immediately on the formation of the Sanhedrin. However, the Ralbach holds that this need not happen before the Messiah.
The Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz who lived in the 20th century) reconciles the two opinions by saying that the calendar will be changed some time between the formation of the big Sanhedrin and the coming of the Messiah.
On 9th February 1807, Emperor Napoleon I of France gathered together 71 Jews including 36 Rabbis in Paris and declared them to be a Sanhedrin. He ordered them to rule on certain issues for his own political ends. Later, he used these rulings as a justification for granting limited rights to Jews. This Sanhedrin had no validity in Jewish law for three reasons: it was formed outside Israel, the members were not smuchim and they were coerced into making rulings.
Napoleon's Sanhedrin, Paris, 9th February 1807
At the start of the 20th century, Rabbi Aharon Mendel Baharan of Cairo, Egypt and Rabbi Zvi Mokovsky of Tel-Aviv proposed the reintroduction of the smichah and reinstitution of the Sanhedrin. Hundreds of rabbis from around the World signed on to this proposal but nothing came of it. Shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel, the Religious Affairs Minister, Rabbi Yehudah Leib Maimon, suggested reestablishing the Sanhedrin but again nothing came of it.
In 2001, at the suggestion of Rabbi Zvi Idan, President Katzav, President of Israel, called for the establishment of a Sanhedrin-type body. In early 2004, a number of very senior rabbis were asked if they considered a certain person (who's name has not been published) was worthy of smichah. All those asked indicated that he was worthy.
On that basis he then gave smichah to others. By 13th October 2004, there were about 90 smuchim and a big Sanhedrin of 71 was formed in Tiberius (see video, they have a Hebrew website but it may not be up to date – a new website is promised in the near future). The Sanhedrin has been meeting every month or so since its reestablishment. A working group of 23 (small Sanhedrin) intends to meet regularly to discuss important issues and will assemble the big Sanhedrin when necessary to make final decisions.
On the subject of the calendar, they are only willing to say that they intend to discuss the implications of fixing the calendar according to observation in our times. However, while I have not heard any formal condemnation of their activities, many major authorities are not taking them seriously, citing serious flaws in the manner in which they reinstated the smichah. As a result, this Sanhedrin has not received widespread recognition.
1st meeting of the Sanhedrin in Tiberias, 13th October 2004
Members of the Sanhedrin gathered in Jerusalem, 7th February 2005
Here are three differing views on the validity of the new Sanhedrin:
1) According to Rabbi Zvi Idan, leader of the Sanhedrin, the existence of the Sanhedrin changes the whole way Jewish law will be made. From now on, each Rabbi will not be able to rule for his own community. Instead, each member of the Sanhedrin can have his say and the final decision will be by a vote and binding on everybody.
2) On the other hand, Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitch and Rabbi Elisha Aviner think that the new Sanhedrin is a joke and not to be taken seriously. Rabbi Rabinovich compares the new Sanhedrin with Rabbi Beirav's 16th century smichah. He says that using grandiose names like Sanhedrin does not make it a reality. We, as a nation, are not in a position to reintroduce smichah and it cannot be done until society is ready.
3) My personal opinion is that the Sanhedrin is in the process of establishing itself. There is a chance that it will gather momentum and in the process it will take upon itself more important decisions. Its halakhic (religious legal) authority will become more apparent as it progresses. One can assume that this will happen in time and it is likely that the institution of the Sanhedrin will undergo many changes as greater scholars join. The new Sanhedrin is a serious institution. Even Rabbi Rabinovich compares it with the smichah of Rabbi Yaakov Beirav.
If Rabbi Beirav had been just a joke, we would not remember him till this day. In addition, the new Sanhedrin has already surpassed Rabbi Beirav with many more smuchim and the establishment of a Sanhedrin. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that the Sanhedrin will, sooner or later, receive widespread and increasing recognition that will eventually be accepted by the entire Jewish people. This is a developing story.
If this or some other Sanhedrin achieves widespread recognition in the future then a likely scenario for the calendar would be as follows. They would form a committee to discuss the calendar. They would use the information gathered by, amongst others, the Israeli New Moon Society. Members of the society would be invited to advise them. If they came to a decision to renew the determination of the calendar by observation then members of the society would be amongst those who would testify upon seeing the Moon. The observers' testimony would be checked using techniques developed by the society and others.
Updated March 24th 2005 © Roy Hoffman 2004-5
Monday, December 05, 2005
KING DAVIDS PALACE
By: DAVID HAZONY Special to the CJN
Recent archaeological find, thought by some to be the biblical palace built by King David, stirs controversy over the right of the Jewish people to claim Jerusalem.
In what many archaeologists hail as the potential find of the century, remains of a massive structure dating to the time of King David have been discovered in the heart of biblical Jerusalem. Eilat Mazar, the Israeli archaeologist leading the excavation, has suggested that it may, in fact, be the palace built by David as described in the Bible.
The discovery has shaken the already contentious field of biblical archaeology to its roots: For the last few years, a number of respected archaeologists n most prominently Israel Finkelstein, chairman of Tel Aviv University’s archaeology department and author of the 2001 best-seller The Bible Unearthed in have argued that the biblical accounts of Jerusalem as the seat of a great and united monarchy under the rule of David and Solomon are false. If Mazar’s hypothesis proves right, it would go a long way toward proving Finkelstein and the others wrong.Her findings will also doubtlessly affect the broader political battle over Jerusalem in that is, the question of whether the Jewish people has its origins in the city and thus has a special hold over it, or whether the concept of a Jewish origin in Jerusalem is nothing but a myth.
With such a potentially powerful find, there will naturally be no shortage of skeptics, whether for reasons of politics or scholarship. Yet there are many good reasons to identify Mazar’s find, at least provisionally, as the palace described in the Book of Samuel. These reasons deserve to be heard.According to archaeological evidence, Jerusalem was founded two millennia before David arrived on the scene in 1000 B.C.E.
Because of its unique topography in a high hill nestled between two deep valleys that converge at its southern point, graced with abundant sources of water and exposed to attack only along a ridge from the north in the location proved ideal for the capital of a kingdom.Therefore, David did not destroy the city when he conquered it from the Jebusites, but rather added to it. The most notable addition was the palace built by the Phoenician king, Hiram of Tyre, as a gesture of friendship.Based on the biblical account, coupled with textual clues as to the topography and findings previously published by Kathleen Kenyon, Mazar formulated her proposal as to the location of the palace in a 1997 article in Biblical Archaeology Review.
“If some regard as too speculative the hypothesis I shall put forth in this article,” she wrote, “my reply is simply this: Let us put it to the test in the way archaeologists always try to test their theories n by excavation.” In early 2005, with the support of the Jerusalem-based Shalem Center, the City of David Foundation, and Hebrew University, Mazar did just that.The evidence she found is remarkable: A section of a massive wall, which runs about 100 feet from west to east before making a right-angle turn heading south, implies the existence of a very large building. Other findings include pottery shards, discovered in the dirt fill between the stones of the wall, which were dated to the 11th century B.C.E., the earliest possible date of the building’s construction. Additionally, the building is positioned directly on bedrock along the city’s northern edge with no archaeological layers beneath it. This implies that the structure, built two millennia after the city’s founding, constituted a new, northward expansion of the city’s limits, as described in the biblical account. It is located at what was then the very summit of the mountain n a reasonable place for the palace from which David is said, in II Samuel (5:17), to have “descended.”Finally, Mazar discovered a remarkable clay bulla, or signet impression, bearing the name of Yehuchal Ben Shelemiah, a Judean prince from the time of King Zedekiah mentioned by name in Jeremiah 37:3. This evidence suggests that four centuries after David, the site was still an important seat of Judean royalty. This matches the biblical account of the palace being in continuous use from its construction until the destruction of Judea by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.
The evidence seems to agree surprisingly well with Mazar’s claim that this could be David’s palace. The location, size, style, and dating of the building all match the textual description. Moreover, there are no finds that suggest the contrary, such as the idolatrous statuettes or ritual crematoria found in contemporary Phoenician settlements. Furthermore, the building appears in an ancient world where such constructions were extremely rare and represented the greatest sort of public works. Finally, the evidence fits well with previous archaeological finds from the site.
Naturally, many archaeologists, having been trained in a scholarly world wary of religious enthusiasts, will be extremely reluctant to identify any new archaeological find with particulars found in the Bible. Others, driven by a combination of interests, ideologies, or political agendas, will seize on any shred of uncertainty in the building’s identification to distract attention from the momentousness of the find. Both groups will invoke professionalism and objectivity to undermine the proposition that this was David’s palace: They will either raise the bar of required proofs to a standard that no archaeological find could ever meet, or they will simply dismiss it all as wishful thinking in the service of religious or Zionist motives.
Yet even if this is not in fact David’s palace, there is no doubt that we are talking about an archaeological find of revolutionary proportions. It is still the first discovery of a major construction from the early Israelite period in Jerusalem.No longer is it reasonable to claim, as many revisionist archaeologists have done, that the absence of evidence from the relevant period shows that the great unified monarchy of David and Solomon was really an imaginary historiosophic creation. It is thus significant that the normally reserved Amihai Mazar, cousin of Malat Mazar and one of the most esteemed scholars in the field of biblical archaeology and author of the standard textbook Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, 10,000 - 586 B.C.E., has described the discovery as “something of a miracle.
”Furthermore, so long as we are willing to admit that possible future evidence may prompt a different conclusion, there is no reason not to identify this building as David’s palace. Put simply, we have before us two things: A biblical text describing in detail the creation of a Phoenician-style palace by David on a particular mountain around the end of the eleventh or beginning of the tenth century B.C.E.; and a grand Phoenician style structure dating from the same time on the summit of that very mountain, located with assistance from the text and previous archaeological discoveries.
Is this absolute proof? No. But surely it is enough to shift the burden of proof. For in the end, the theory that this is David’s palace is thus far the best explanation for the data. As Mazar herself says, “Anyone who wants to say otherwise ought to come up with a better theory.”This is neither wishful thinking nor an imagined past. It’s good science.David Hazony is editor-in-chief of Azure A longer version of this piece appears in the journal’s autumn 2005 issue.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
ASTEROID IMPACT COMING
This time it will be to shorten the daylight hours though, not to destroy all of mankind like it did the dinasaurs. In Isaiah 30:26 it says the sun will be seven times hotter than it is now. So that means the climate change will affect the Ozone and from here on in the Summers will be hotter than ever.
30:26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold (7 times), as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people (Israelis), and healeth the stroke of their wound.
We also see in Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened (Asteroid hit), and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars (Meteriorites) shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shakin (Earthquake).
A total of 1/2 of earths population die during this future 7 year false peace treaty signing, from War, famine, pestilence and space debris. (Matthew 24:40-51).
1/4 of the population from sword, hunger, death (Incurable diseases : aids, bird flu, cancers etc.
(Revelation 6:7-8). 1/3 of Earths population from Nuclear Bombs, (revelation 9:18). And the remainder die from natural disasters, earthquakes and Space debris. for a total of 1/2 of earths population.(revelation 16:21)
Now we go to revelation to see that all earths population would die from the heat if G-D would
not show mercy, but for his elect sake (Israelis), he will stop the sun from killing everyone.
Revelation 16:8-9 And the forth angel poured out his vial upon the Sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9-And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of G-D, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake (Israel), whom he has chosen, he has shortened the day(Light) hours.
Oregon State University
Andrew Blaustein, 541-737-5356
Charles Cockell, (international) 44-1223-221560
March 9, 2000
Asteroid devastation could even be worse than feared By David Stauth, 541-737-0787
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Researchers say in a new report that if a huge asteroid were to hit the Earth, the catastrophic destruction it causes, and even the "impact winter" that follows, might only be a prelude to a different, but very deadly phase that starts later on.
They're calling it, "ultraviolet spring."
In an analysis of the secondary ecological repercussions of a major asteroid impact, scientists from Oregon State University and the British Antarctic Survey have outlined some of the residual effects of ozone depletion, acid rain and increased levels of harmful ultraviolet radiation. The results were just published in the journal Ecology Letters.
The findings are frightening. As a number of popular movies have illustrated in recent years, a big asteroid or comet impact would in fact produce enormous devastation, huge tidal waves, and a global dust cloud that would block the sun and choke the planet in icy, winter-like conditions for months. Many experts believe such conditions existed on Earth following an impact around the Cretaceous-Tertiary, or K-T boundary, when there was a massive extinction of many animals, including the dinosaurs.
That's pretty bad. But according to Andrew Blaustein, a professor of zoology at Oregon State University, there's more to the story.
"Scientists have pretty well documented the immediate destruction of an asteroid impact and even the impact winter which its dust cloud would create," Blaustein said. "But our study suggests that's just the beginning of the ecological disaster, not the end of it."
Blaustein and colleague Charles Cockell examined an asteroid impact of a magnitude similar to the one that occurred around the K-T boundary, which is believed to have hit off the Yucatan Peninsula with a force of almost one trillion megatons.
The immediate results would be catastrophic destruction and an impact winter, with widespread death of plants and the large terrestrial animals -- including humans -- that most directly depend on those plants for food. That's the beginning of an ugly scenario, the researchers say.
As a result of the impact, the atmosphere would become loaded with nitric oxide, causing massive amounts of acid rain. As they become acidified, the lakes and rivers would have reduced amounts of dissolved organic carbons, which would allow much greater penetration of ultraviolet light.
At first, of course, the ultraviolet rays would be blocked by the dust cloud, which sets the stage for a greater disaster later on. Many animals depend on some exposure to ultraviolet light to keep operational their biological protective mechanisms against it -- without any such light, those protective mechanisms would be eroded or lost.
During the extended winter, animals across the biological spectrum would become weaker, starved and more vulnerable. Many would die. Then comes ultraviolet spring, shining down on surviving plants and animals that have lost their resistance to ultraviolet radiation and penetrating more deeply, with greater intensity, into shallow waters than it ever has before.
"By our calculations, the dust cloud would shield the Earth from ultraviolet light for an extended period, with it taking about 390 days after impact before enough dust settled that there would be an ultraviolet level equal to before the impact. After that, the ozone depletion would cause levels of ultraviolet radiation to at least double, about 600 days after impact."
According to their study, these factors would lead to ultraviolet-related DNA damage about 1,000 times higher than normal, and general ultraviolet damage to plants about 500 times higher than normal. Ultraviolet radiation can cause mutations, cancer, and cataracts. It can kill plants or slow their growth, suppressing the photosynthesis which forms the base of the world's food chain.
Smaller asteroid impacts, which have happened far more frequently in Earth's history, theoretically might cause similar or even worse problems with ultraviolet exposure, the researchers say. The ozone depletion would be less, but there would also be less of a protective dust cloud.
"Part of what we're trying to stress here is that with an asteroid collision, there will be many synergistic effects on the environment that go far beyond the initial impact," said Cockell, a researcher with the British Antarctic Survey who did some of this analysis while formerly working with NASA. "Effects such as acid rain, fires, the dust clouds, cold temperatures, ozone depletion and ultraviolet radiation could all build upon each other."
During the K-T event, the scientists said, many of the animals may actually have been spared most of the ultraviolet spring they envision. That impact, oddly enough, hit a portion of the Earth's crust that was rich in anhydrite rocks. This produced a 12-year sulfate haze that blocked much of the ultraviolet radiation. But it was a lucky shot -- that type of rock covers less than 1 percent of the Earth's surface.
So when the next "big one" comes, the scientists said, the ecological repercussions may be more savage than any of those known in Earth's long history. The collision will be devastating, the "impact winter" deadly.
But it will be the ultraviolet spring that helps finish off the survivors.
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04 Dec 2005
CHRISTIANS PASTORED BY RABBIS
I Just found out by listening to Torah tidbits on Israel National Radio, that the word of the lord will be coming from Jerusalem.
In Judiasm the Torah is read and handed down orally from generation to generation. We as christians don't know the oral traditions just the Torah reading parts.
I will now give you one example of what I mean.
Genesis 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
1 - Gensesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, behold, here I am. 2-And he said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
then abraham saddled his donkey and took Isaac with him, but he never told Isaac what was about to happen.
It took them 3 days to get to the Temple Mount. we now continue on with verse 5-And Abraham said unto his young men, abide ye here with the donkey; and I and the lad (Issaic) will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
so they went to the Temple Mount But Isaac asks Abraham were is the lamb to offer. Abraham responded God will supply the Lamb.
9-And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 10-And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11-And the Angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, here am I. 12-And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not witheld thy son, thine only son from me. 13-And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 14-And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-Jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the lord it shall be seen.
In these verses of our bible it just says that God directed Abraham to a lamb to be sacrificed. But in Jewish oral tradition and writings it was passed down that Issac actually died of a heart attack or scared to death, was burnt up. But God brought Isaac back to life.
So here we see that what we read sometimes is not the full truth of what really happened, just a partial picture. Now we know why in the future the 144,000 Jewish Evangelicals will be preaching the truth to the world. What we read will be from oral tradtion and Jewish writings expended upon.
12,000 Jewish preachers from each of the 12 tribes will be ministering to the world. Revelation 7:1-10. and millions of people will be saved as a result of these Jewish ministers. There message will be repent and be prepared for the Coming of the Messiah will be very shortly. These 144,000 will be preaching for the 70th and final week of years of Daniels prophesy, which is the 7 year peace treaty signing of Daniel 9:27.
So we as christians should be sitting under Rabbis not just Pastors. So we could really know what the Torah and Jewish writtings and oral traditions of the Jewish faith really say what the Bible says.
3 NEWS EVENTS SPACE,VATICAN
By AIDAN LEWIS Associated Press Writer
PONTEDERA, Italy (AP) -- The metallic fingers close around yours in near-perfect synchrony, then tighten their grip as you try to pull away.
For now, it is a computer that orders "Cyberhand" to greet you at the robotics lab where researchers have spent the past 3 1/2 years creating the first prosthetic hand capable of eliciting natural sensory signals.
If all goes well, researchers say this bionic hand could be implanted on human arms two years from now, its wired joints discreetly covered by a synthetic glove. Cyberhand would allow the maimed to have "the feeling of touching things," says Paolo Dario, the project's coordinator at the Polo Sant'Anna Valdera institute in this central Italian town.
The hand is the fruit of cooperation between six teams working in four European countries - Italy, Germany, Spain and Denmark. For Dario, it is also an example of Europe's enormous - but still relatively underfunded - potential in the fast-expanding field of robotics.
"We have a network, we know how to work together. We are ready to make a leap ahead," he said. Financed with $1.8 million from a special European Union fund for emerging technologies, Cyberhand was cited as a success by European Commission officials in October when they appealed to governments and industry to give robotics more financial backing.
Increased funding is essential, they said, if Europe is to exploit robotics' vast economic potential and compete with projects in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. AP: Each year, the commission and EU nations combined spend $100 million on robotics research. Japan and Korea each spend about the same, while the United States spends up to $500 million - largely because of the huge demand for military-related robotics, researchers and EU officials say.
In Dario's view, Europe's strength in robotics is in a broad approach that is also perhaps more sensitive to the social and ethical issues raised by the increasing use of robots to help humans with everyday tasks.
The Cyberhand team and other European robotics research groups have been more apprehensive than the Japanese about bringing robotic technology into everyday life, says James L. Patton, a research scientist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago who has closely followed the Cyberhand project.
"They've been pioneers in launching those considerations: what is an acceptable practice for robots, how do we make robots safe, are they safe, psychologically how will they influence people and their behavior?"
In contrast, several robotics experts said, Japanese projects tend to be showier in hopes of making a media impact and attracting funding. The Cyberhand team not only has tried to develop a hand that would provide greater grip and control for an amputee, but it also has been concerned about the hand's aesthetics.
Giovanni Stellin, one of the Cyberhand researchers, said many patients were ashamed or self-conscious about using the less sophisticated, pincer-mechanism, prosthetic hands developed after World War II and still on the market.
Cyberhand would be attached to amputees below the elbow and covered by several layers of synthetic material that would seek to copy the features of a natural hand by making the prosthetic replacement soft, compliant, and flexible. Patton says it represents "the first prosthetic hand that really is fully integrated into the nervous system." Linked to the nerves
by tiny electrodes and biomimetic sensors, it would let patients sense the position and movement of the hand as well as stimuli from the outside environment.
Though researchers in the United States have covered similar ground, they have not addressed the problems of electrodes, prosthesis, sensory feedback, control, and processing of commands all together, said Silvestro Micera, a Cyberhand researcher. That type of teamwork is more likely to flourish in Europe, where technology partners are accustomed to working in transnational consortiums, said Micera.
What remains to be seen, Patton says, is whether the materials used for Cyberhand will be compatible with the human body, how a patient's brain will adapt and how the hand can be powered. Another project touted by European officials is HYDRA, a project coordinated from Denmark that is developing the world's first shape-shifting robot. It is made up of modules, each containing its own processors, batteries, sensors and actuators, which can attach and detach from each other so the robot can change its physical form.
Such a robot could be used, for example, in relief efforts after an earthquake, said Henrik Hautop Lund, a professor at the University of Southern Denmark and HYDRA's coordinator.
Having driven to a site, the robot could transform into a crawler to climb over debris, a snake to get through a hole, or columns to hold up a collapsed building and protect a survivor.
HYDRA has developed 100 modules, and Lund is looking for industrial partners who would invest in manufacturing the robot and put it to use. The project, begun in 2001, has received $2.1 million - about two-thirds of its total funding - from the EU.
Like Dario, Lund argues that Europe has an advantage in its more integrated approach to robotics. But he also notes the financial constraints. Member states have failed to agree in recent months on the EU's 2007-2013 budget, so researchers still don't know how much support they will receive, sparking concern that projects could lose momentum.
"One of the problems Europe has had in its robotics research has been getting it out to market as product," said Ken Young, chairman of the British Automation and Robotics Association.
"While we may have a good research network at (the) academic level, I don't see the big industrial players getting involved to the extent they do in Japan and Korea. Ultimately it is these people who will take it to market and make it a success. ... In the EU it strikes me we develop some great technology and then leave it for the rest of the world to pick up and exploit."
Saturn's largest moon has dramatic weather
AP, PARIS Dec 1: Saturn's planet-size moon Titan has dramatic weather, with turbulent high-altitude winds, periodic floods of liquid methane and possibly lightning, scientists said Wednesday in describing a world that may look like Earth before life developed.
The European Space Agency's probe landed on Titan in January, uncovering some mysteries of the methane-rich globe - the only moon in the solar system known to have a thick atmosphere. Scientists presented detailed results of months of study in the online edition of the journal Nature and at a news conference in Paris.
"It's a very strange fantasy world made of ice, with things like gasoline and tar that make up the rivers and the lake beds," said scientist Jonathan Lunine of the University of Arizona, when asked how he would explain the finding to a child.
"If you try to walk around on it, your feet might get stuck in some places, you'd slide down into methane rivers in other places, and you'd better watch out for the ammonia volcanoes," he said. "And absolutely bring a big heavy coat, because it's really cold - and bring a tank of oxygen because there's no oxygen to breathe, but don't light a match." Titan, located 740 million
miles from Earth, has long intrigued researchers because it is surrounded by a thick blanket of nitrogen and methane. Until recently, scientists believed the most likely explanation for the methane was the presence of a methane-rich sea of hydrocarbons.
The Huygens probe and its mother ship, Cassini, have offered evidence against that theory. The $3.3 billion Cassini-Huygens mission to explore Saturn and its moons was launched in 1997 from Cape Canaveral, a joint effort involving NASA, ESA and the Italian space agency.
Titan's clouds are made from molecules that include carbon and nitrogen - compounds generated in photochemical smog and circulated by rain and the atmosphere, the researchers reported in Nature.
They said there was no reason to believe Titan's methane is a product of biological activity. Yet more methane is appearing constantly and may burst from ice volcanos or fall as rain, researchers said, describing riverbed and drainage channels spotted during the craft's descent Jan. 14.
Abbas invites Pope to Holy Land
BBC NEWS Mr Abbas and the Pope had a 20-minute meeting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has invited the Pope to visit Jerusalem and places holy to Christians. During their first meeting at the Vatican, Benedict XVI accepted the offer, but no date has been set. Jerusalem is a key sticking point in Israeli-Palestinian relations, with Palestinians hoping a future state would include the east of the city.
Israeli President Moshe Katsav met the Pope last month and invited him to visit the Jewish state. The disputed status of the city of Jerusalem - that is holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians - has always been a matter of interest to the Roman Catholic Church, the BBC's David Willey in Rome reports.
"You will be very welcome in Jerusalem and the holy places," Mr Abbas told the pontiff at the end of a private audience at the Vatican. "Thank you very much," was the response from Pope Benedict XVI.
One of Mr Abbas' aides - who lives in Bethlehem - also gave then gave the pontiff a document granting the Pope unlimited access to Bethlehem, the town where Jesus Christ was born.
The unresolved status of Jerusalem - the eastern part of which was annexed by the Israelis in the 1967 war - has always been a key issue for the Vatican.
The late Pope, John Paul II, had said he was in favour of the internationalisation of Jerusalem, and this is still official Vatican policy, our correspondent says. Israel has always refused such a solution claiming jurisdiction over the whole city as the undivided capital of the country.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their eventual state.