November 1 – 2021

During the week covered by this review, we received 3 articles on the following subjects:



Christians and the Holocaust





Jerusalem Post, October 24, 2021


A team of American and Israeli archaeologists led by Prof. Mordechai Aviam and Prof. Steven Notley unearthed a large doorless wall surrounding the remains of a large basilica on the northern shore of the Kinneret. While the reason behind the construction of the wall, as well as the identity of the builders, remain a mystery, the researchers say that now they can be sure that the basilica is to be identified as the lost Church of the Apostles at Bethsaida, as mentioned in the chronicles by Bavarian bishop Willibald who visited the area on a pilgrimage in 724 CE.


“And thence they went to Bethsaida, the residence of Peter and Andrew, where there is now a church on the site of their house,” the bishop wrote as he was traveling along the shores of the Kinneret.


A few decades later, a major earthquake hit the region and the ruling Muslim dynasty changed. In the period that followed, many Christian sites, and the memory of their exact location, were lost. Next year, the archaeologists intend to excavate around the church to reach the foundation, which will likely allow them to date the wall, and possibly reveal more of its mysteries.



Haaretz, October 28, 2021


This article was about Omrit, the ruin of a 2,000-year-old temple which stands atop a hill between Kfar Szold and She’ar Yashuv, in northern Israel.


After a brushfire cleared the area in 1998, archaeological excavations began. The excavations have yielded three phases of temple construction approximated at mid-1st century BC, 20 BC and 1st century AD. The site is located around 2.5 miles southwest of the Banias, adjacent to a Roman road connecting cities in the region. It is this Roman road and temple complex that some scholars believe Flavius Josephus referred to in descriptions of the Golan region. Given its proximity to the Banias and the presence of Corinthian temple ruins, it is now believed that Omrit is the site of the third temple built of limestone and plaster by King Herod in honor of Augustus around 20 BC. The research is led by Prof. Mevorach.



Christians and the Holocaust



Haaretz, October 29, 2021


This was an article about the late Father Gregor Pawlowski. The Jewish bishop of Jaffa, whose parents and siblings were murdered by the Nazis, passed away this week at the age of 91 and will be buried next to a mass grave in Poland, where his mother and sisters are buried.


The sad story began in the town of Zamość in eastern Poland, home to about 4,000 Jews, including the Griners, who were cruelly murdered over open pits, after being forced to wait in the freezing cold for ten days during World War II. Hirsch Griner survived the war, and took on the Polish name of Gregor Pawlowski. After the war, he was placed by the Red Cross in a Catholic orphanage. Later he was transferred to another orphanage, where he was baptized at the age of 13. He finished high school while in the orphanage and then enrolled in a seminary in Lublin. In 1958, Hirsch was ordained as a priest and began working in various towns in Lublin. In 1966, he told his story to a reporter from a Polish Catholic newspaper. News of the article somehow made its way to Israel, to relatives in Bat Yam who contacted Hirsch. In 1970, Hirsch immigrated to Israel and settled in Jaffa, where he served the Polish-speaking Christian community for 38 years. He used to say: “My place is here, among the Jewish people. I sensed a call to come and serve Christians living in my country.”


Before he left Poland, he established a monument near the cemetery, where his mother and sisters had been murdered, and a burial plot for himself next to the mass grave with the inscription: “I abandoned my family in order to save my life at the time of the Shoah…  I have returned to them this place, where they were murdered, for the sanctification of God’s name.”