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Samaritan  Definition

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1. Adherent of a sect that is close to Judaism, called the Samaritans or, in Hebrew, Shomronim, whose home is in Samaria.  In ancient times there were supposedly as many as a million Samaritans, but today they number about 600, split between a community that lives in Nablus and a community that immigrated to Israel after the Six-Day war.

Samaritans are supposedly descended from tribes that were settled in Israel by Assyrians or Babylonians about 600 BC, who adopted many aspects of Jewish worship. Another version claims they were settled by the Seleucid kings at a later period. Samaritans adopted many aspects of Jewish beliefs and worship. However, they worship at Mt. Gerizim instead of Jerusalem, and accept only the Torah in their own version, rejecting later commentaries.

2. A person who does a good deed, following the "Good Samaritan" parable of the New Testament.

Synonyms and alternate spellings: Shomroni, plural Shomronim

Further Information:  Wikipedia article on Samaritans

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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This work and individual entries are copyright 2005 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel


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