ACE, GOODMAN To ACRABA (Jews and Judaism)


(1899-1982), U.S. humorist. Born in Kansas City, Mo., as Goodman Aiskowitz, he was an actor, comedian, and writer who supplied dozens of performers with funny things to say but also became well known for the mal-apropisms he provided for his wife on a nationally heard radio program that ran from 1930 to 1945. At his peak Ace was probably the highest-paid writer in television. The son of a haberdasher, he got his first job as a hat salesman. He shifted quickly to newspaper writing and became a columnist on the Journal Post. Seeking to supplement his salary as a columnist and theater and film reviewer, he did extra work commenting on films for a radio station. After he finished a 15-minute program, the station manager asked him and his wife Jane, who happened to be at the station, to stay on the air because the performers for the next segment had not yet shown up. The ad-lib show proved so popular that the Aces were hired to do two programs a week. By 1931 they had moved to the cbs network. Over the air the quips and bon mots seemed to flow effortlessly, but Ace had carefully composed each misused expression for Jane Ace. She died in 1974. Ace wrote for performers as diverse as Danny *Kaye, Perry Como, Sid *Cae-sar, Milton *Berle, and Bob Newhart.


tmp2C38_thumbsacrilegious transgressor from the tribe of Judah, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah. In the time of Joshua, Achan violated the *herem imposed on Jericho and was subsequently executed (Josh. 7). Despite the ban on spoils from Jericho, Achan misappropriated a fine shinar mantle, 200 shekels of silver, and a wedge (lit. "tongue") of 50 shekels’ weight and buried them in the ground under his tent. The Israelites were defeated in an attempt to take *Ai because of the trespass of the herem. Lots were cast to determine who was responsible and Achan was indicated. On the principle of collective responsibility the people had been punished for the transgression of this one man, since Achan’s sin was ascribed to all of Israel (Josh. 7:1, 11). Achan confessed his sin publicly before God and Israel (Josh. 7:20-21). Another example of collective responsibility is that he was stoned with all his family in the valley of *Achor ("troubling"), where the articles he had taken were burned and a great mound of stones was raised over him. The word achor is a play on the name Achan. In 1 Chronicles 2:7 he is actually called "Achar, the troubler of Israel."

The story of Achan may be an amalgam from two different sources. The first half of Joshua 7:25 reads "and they stoned him," while the second half says "and they stoned them," which is not only a duplication but employs a different Hebrew verb for "to stone." The story is widely regarded as an independent, Judean, etiological narrative, explaining the origin of the name valley of Achor and the presence there of a big pile of stones (Josh. 7:26). According to Y. Kaufmann, however, it belongs to a class of biblical legal literature which illustrated rulings by example. These were actual cases decided on the spot and the story preserved the result of the case (e.g., Lev. 10:1-7, 12-20; 24:10-23; Num. 9:6-44; 27:1-11; 36:1-12; 1 Sam. 30:22-25).

In the Aggadah

Achan was a hardened criminal whose sins (previous to stealing the spoil from Jericho) included desecration of the Sabbath, obliterating the signs of his circumcision, and adultery (Sanh. 44a). Nevertheless, he is one of the three men who, by their confessions, lost this world, and gained the world to come (arn version b, 4-5:3). When his fellow tribesmen were willing to espouse his cause to the extent of slaying one group after another in Israel, Achan said to himself: "Any man who preserves one life in Israel is as though he had preserved the entire world. It is better that I should confess than be responsible for a calamity" (Num. R. 23:6). His confession was a victory over his evil inclinations. "The Lord shall trouble thee this day" (Josh. 7:25), implied: "This day thou art troubled, but thou wilt not be troubled in the world to come" (Lev. E. 9:1 and Sanh. 6:2).


tmp2C39_thumbthe name of two biblical figures.

(1) Achbor was the father of Baal-Hanan, king of Edom (Gen. 36:38-39; 1 Chron. 1:49). Some scholars maintain that the father’s name is not Achbor, but a duplication of Beor (Gen. 36:32), because the king’s native city is not given (as in all the other cases, rather than their father’s name). Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the name existed. It can denote a mouse (akhbar), as it is normal for biblical persons to bear animal names. Furthermore, there may also be a cultic connotation for this name, as is proved by the discovery of sacrificial mice (cf. also the golden mice in 1 Sam. 6:4, 5, 11), and the reference in Isaiah 66:17 to a non-Yahwistic cultic practice in which mice were eaten. This is in addition to the preservation of a tradition by Maimonides that the Horites sacrificed mice. It is further interesting to note that a seal bearing the words "Hananyahu ben Akhbor" was found in Jerusalem.

(2) Achbor, the son of Micaiah, was one of the men sent by King Josiah to consult the prophetess *Huldah (ii Kings 22:12-14; in ii Chron. 34:20, he is called *Abdon, probably a corruption of Achbor). On the mission he is believed to have represented the pro-Egyptian families, who were influential in the last days of the Kingdom of Judah (see *Ahikam). His son, *Elnathan, was one of the ministers in the time of Jehoia-kim (Jer. 26:22; 36:12). Possibly "K-[-]iahu son of Elnathan," an army officer mentioned in one o f the Lachish ostraca (no. 3, 1.15), was Achbor’s grandson in the time of Zedekiah.


(Hebtmp2C40_thumb*Philistine king of *Gath, mentioned at the end of Saul’s reign. In 1 Samuel 27:2, his father’s name is given as Maoch. Achish’s realm was extensive and included the city of Ziklag and its environs (1 Sam. 27:6). Fugitives from Judah often sought shelter in his land because of its proximity to Judah (1 Kings 2:39-40). At first Achish refused *David permission to stay in his territory, possibly to avoid becoming embroiled in a political conflict with Saul (1 Sam. 21:nff.). After a company of several hundred men, however, had gathered around David, Achish welcomed him and even allocated to him the Ziklag region (1 Sam. 27). It is possible that David took his first steps in royal administration when he was in the kingdom of Gath.

In the Septuagint Achish is called Akchous, Agchous, Ag-chis. If the late readings reflect some early tradition, it would seem almost certain that the original form of the name was Achush or Akkush, which corresponds or is related to Ikusu, the name of one of the kings of Ekron in the days of Esarhad-don and Ashurbanipal, now attested to in a monumental inscription from Ekron. The name Achish is not Semitic in form, and some scholars have related it to Agchioses, the name of a king in the neighborhood of Troy who lived around the time of the Trojan War (Iliad, 2:819; 20:239; et al.). The fact that the form Agchisis is not Greek supports the theory that Achish and Agchisis may have had a common origin. Since the name Akhshan is found in an Egyptian list as the name of a son of Kaphtor (Keftiu), it is plausible to assume that the form "Achish" stems from the same group of peoples to which the Philistines belonged. But it is also conceivable that the name is Horite, because the combination of sounds in "Achish" is possible in Horite. J. Naveh has argued that Achish was an appellative employed as a throne name.

A king of Gath called Achish is also referred to in the fourth year of Solomon’s rule; he is called "Achish son of Maa-cah" (1 Kings 2:39). Perhaps there were two kings by this name; Achish son of Maoch, the predecessor, and Achish son of Maa-cah, the successor of an intermediate king called Maacah.


(Heb.tmp2C41_thumbsite near Jericho where *Achan was stoned to death for helping himself to some of the forbidden booty taken from Jericho (Josh. 7:24-26). Achor is mentioned in Joshua (15:7) as being located on the border of Judah and Benjamin, between Debir and Adum-mim. Both Hosea (2:17) and Isaiah (65:10) predicted that in time to come this valley would cease to be a desert. Achor figures in the *Copper Scroll from the Dead Sea as the site of vast hidden treasures. Eusebius (Onom. 18:17-20) located it north of Jericho in the direction of Galgala, and it has been placed by most scholars in or near Wadi el-Qelt, or farther north at the large Wadi Nuwei’imeh. A more recent suggestion is al-Buqei’ah, a large plain in the Judean Desert southwest of Jericho.


(1886-1943), composer and violinist. Achron made his debut at the age of eight, touring Russia as a prodigy violinist. He studied with *Auer and Liadow at St. Petersburg, and later taught at the Kharkov Conservatory (1913-18). Achron began his composing career by writing light music. His association in St. Petersburg with the group of Jewish writers and musicians who founded the Society for Jewish Folk Music brought about a change in musical interests, and manifested itself in his Hebrew Melody (1911). After attempting to settle in Berlin (1918-22) and Palestine (1924), he went to New York in 1925. There he wrote music for Yiddish plays and was commissioned to compose Evening Service for the Sabbath for Temple Emanu-El (1932). In 1934 he moved to Hollywood, wrote film music, but continued serious composition. Achron’s work shows the stresses resulting from his double role as a performing musician and a composer. He composed more than 80 works, including violin sonatas and concertos, Symphonic Variations and Sonata on the Folk Song "El Yivneh ha-Galil" (1915), Concerto for Piano Alone (1941), Golem Suite (1932), Sextet for Woodwinds (1942), and incidental music to plays by *Goldfaden, *Shalom Aleichem, Peretz, and Sholem *Asch. The bulk of his manuscripts is preserved in the National and University Library, Jerusalem.

Isidor (1892-1948), brother of Joseph, born in Warsaw, was a pianist and composer. He studied in St. Petersburg and toured Europe and the U.S., where he settled in 1922.


(Heb.tmp2C42_thumb probably "anklet," cf. Isa. 3:18), the daughter of *Caleb, the son of Jephunneh. Achsah’s father announced that he would give her in marriage to the man who would capture Kiriath-Sepher (later called *Debir; modern Tell Beit Mirsim). *Othniel, son of Kenaz, the latter apparently a younger brother of Caleb (Caleb and Kenaz both being the sons of the Kenizzite Jephunneh), took Kiriath-Sepher and married Achsah (Jos. 15:16-17; Judg. 1:12-13). Apparently because Othniel desired a dowry in addition to the girl (whom her father had "given away as Negeb Land" [i.e., without dowry], see Kaufmann ad loc.), she asked her father for a piece of property known as Upper and Lower Springs and Caleb acceded to her request (Jos. 15:18-19; Judg. 1:14-15). This story is told in connection with the apportionment of land to the families of the tribe of Judah (Josh. ibid.; Judg. ibid.). Caleb, according to the critical view, represents a tribe or group of families (cf. i Sam. 25:2-3) that was incorporated into Judah. The detailed story intended to describe the settlement of Othniel and the families of Kenaz in a Calebite region. Furthermore, the story brings to light the relations between the families of Caleb and that of Kenaz (probably both Hurrians).

The name Achsah is derived from the root (cf. Isa. 3:18; Prov. 7:22), meaning to reverse, tie backward, hence anklet, bangle.


(Akhshaf; Heb.tmp2C43_thumbancient Canaanite town,usually mentioned together with Acre in Egyptian documents from the Middle and New Kingdoms (cf. the Execration Texts of early 18th century B.c.E.), the list of cities conquered by Thutmosis iii (c. 1469 B.c.E.), the El-Amarna letters (14th century B.c.E.), and the Papyrus Anastasi (13th century B.c.E.). It was in the territory allotted to Asher in the period of the Israelite conquest (Josh. 19:25). The king of Achshaph is listed among the 31 kings who fought Joshua (ibid. 12:20); he participated in the battle at the Waters of Merom (ibid. 11:1). The various sources indicate a location in the southern part of the Plain of Acre, perhaps one of the more prominent of its many ancient tells: Tell Kisan 6 mi. (10 km.) S.E. of Acre, or Khirbet al-Harbaj, E. of Haifa near Kefar H asidim.


(Hebtmp2C44_thumbThe name may mean "charming," "delightful." (1) Ancient Canaanite harbor town north of Acre near the cliff called "the ladder of Tyre." North of the village is a tell in which potsherds dating from and after the Early Bronze Age have been found. According to Joshua 19:29 and Judges 1:31, Achzib belonged to the tribe of Asher, but it did not come under the effective control of the Israelites, as the Canaanites continued to occupy it. A large number of tombs from the period of the Israelite monarchy have been discovered south and east of the tell. *Sennacherib captured Achzib from the king of Tyre in 701 B.c.E. In the period of the Second Temple, Achzib is mentioned (in the Greek form Ekdippa) as a road station, 9 Roman mi. north of Ptolemais (Acre., Jos., Wars, 1:257; Pliny, 19). A Roman milestone has been found on the site, on the Acre-Antioch road, in addition to many Roman tombs. In the mishnaic period, Achzib, then called also Kheziv (Gesiv in the Palestinian Talmud), was considered a part of Erez Israel and its inhabitants were bound by all the biblical laws pertaining to the sabbatical and jubilee years, priestly dues, and tithes (Shev. 6:1; 4:6; Hal. 4:8; 2:6; Tosef. Oho. 18:14). Achzib occupied an important position as a base-camp for the Crusader armies and was known as Casal Imbert after the knight who held it. The Arab geographers of the Middle Ages (Ibn Jubayr, 307; Yaqut, 2:964; Id-risi, 2) refer to it as al-Zib, a fortified village. Until 1948 the site was occupied by the Arab village of al-Zib, 9 mi. (15 km.) north of Acre. Nearby is the kibbutz *Gesher ha-Ziv whose name was partly inspired by the ancient city. In excavations conducted in 1941-44 and 1959-64, fortifications and occupational levels were discovered beginning with the Middle Bronze Age ii (first half of the second millennium B.c.E.) to the Roman period and also from the Crusader period and Middle Ages. Most of the tombs investigated were Phoenician (tenth to seventh centuries B.c.E.); others were from the Persian and Roman periods. The tombs were rock-hewn and also contained pottery, figurines, scarabs, and bronze and silver jewelry. Four tombstones were especially significant, being engraved with the name of the deceased; and in one instance, with his occupation (metal worker). A Phoenician inscription on the shoulder of a jar mentions Adonimelekh.

(2) A city of the biblical period in the Shephelah of Judah, between Keilah and Mareshah (Josh. 15:44; Micah 1:14-15) also called Chezib (Gen. 38:5). It is mentioned by Eusebius (Onom. 172:6) as Chasbi near Adullam, a reference which would confirm its proposed identification with Tell al-Bayd a (today Lavnin) west of Adullam.


(1942- ), U.S. congressman. Acker-man was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, New York. His parents, Max and Eva (Barnett) Ackerman, were the children of East European immigrants. Ackerman was educated in the New York public school system and graduated from Queens College. Following his graduation, Ackerman spent four years teaching junior high school. In 1970, when his wife gave birth to the first of their three daughters, Ackerman petitioned the New York Board of Education for an unpaid leave of absence. He was turned down; under the then existing policy, maternity leave was solely for women. In what was to become a forerunner of the Federal Family Leave Act, Acker-man successfully sued the Board of Education in a landmark case, which established the right of either parent to claim such leave.

At the end of his unpaid leave, Ackerman left teaching in order to start a weekly newspaper, the Flushing Tribune, eventually renamed the Queen’s Tribune. Ackerman was elected as a Democrat to the New York State Senate in 1978 and to the United States Congress in a special election held in 1983 to fill the unexpired term of the late Benjamin Rosenthal. During his more than 20 years in Congress, Ackerman has been a forthright supporter of Israel. As a member of the House Committee on International Relations, Ackerman has traveled the globe extensively. He was one of the first members of Congress to draw attention to the rescue of Soviet and Ethiopian Jews. He has long made it a practice to go to synagogue in every country he visits.

A celebrated character on Capitol Hill, who always wears a white carnation in his lapel and lives on a houseboat docked in the Potomac River, Ackerman is perhaps best known for being the co-founder (along with New York Senator Charles *Schumer) of an informal group known as "The Congressional Minyan." Ackerman’s minyan is a group of Jewish legislators and staff members who gather several times a month in the Congressman’s office to study Torah and Talmud with a rabbi he flies in from New York City. Once a year, Ackerman also hosts an annual "Taste of New York" gathering on Capitol Hill, which features Jewish food and waiters imported from New York. Widely popular with his largely Jewish constituency, Ackerman has been reelected every two years since 1984 by wide margins.


(1908-1971), U.S. psychiatrist, born in Russia. Ackerman joined the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, and became the chief psychiatrist of the Child Guidance Clinic in 1937. In 1957 he established the Family Mental Health Clinic in New York City and began teaching at Columbia University. He was a clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia, chief psychiatrist of the Child Guidance Institute of the Jewish Board of Guardians, and supervising psychiatrist of the Family Mental Health Clinic of the Jewish Family Service, New York.

Ackerman held that the family unit is the crucial link between individual personality and the social and cultural milieu, that psychiatric abnormality in a child is at times an expression of disturbed emotional relations in the entire family, and that cure requires therapy of the conflicts and relations of the family group as such. His astute ability to understand the overall organization of families enabled him to look beyond the behavioral interactions of families and into the hearts and minds of each family member. He used his strong will and provocative style of intervening to uncover the family’s defenses and allow their feelings, hopes, and desires to surface. Committed to sharing his ideas and theoretical approach with other professionals in the field, he published The Unity of the Family and Family Diagnosis: An Approach to the Preschool Child (1938), both of which inspired the family therapy movement. Together with Don Jackson, he founded the first family therapy journal, Family Process (1960), which is still a leading journal of ideas in the field today.

Ackerman opened the Family Institute in New York City in 1960, which was later renamed The Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy. A nonprofit institution, its twofold mission was to develop innovative and effective models of treatment for families in trouble and to train clinicians to implement these models.

On behalf of the American Jewish Committee, Acker-man was coauthor of Anti-Semitism and Emotional Disorder (1950). On family therapy he wrote numerous articles in professional journals; the books The Psychodynamics of Family Life (1958), Treating the Troubled Family (1966), Expanding Theory and Practice in Family Therapy (1967), and Family Process (1970); and edited several anthologies, such as Family Therapy in Transition (1971). He also coau-thored with Marie Jahoda Anti-Semitism and Emotional Disorder, a Psychoanalytic Interpretation (1950). His selected papers were published in The Strength of Family Therapy (1982).


(1893-1989), first woman to assume spiritual leadership of a U.S. mainstream Jewish congregation. Born in Pensacola, Florida, Ackerman was active in the Reform movement throughout her life. Graduating as high school valedictorian in 1911, she received a scholarship to Sophie Newcomb College, which she declined for personal and family reasons. To supplement her family’s income, she became a private music instructor and high school math and Latin teacher. She also taught at Temple Beth-El, the Reform congregation to which her family belonged, leading its congregational choir as well. In 1919 she married Dr. William Ackerman, the rabbi of Temple Beth-El; the couple left Pensacola for a better-paying rabbinic position in Natchez, Mississippi, and in 1922 moved on with their 15-month-old son, Billy, to Meridian, Mississippi. During her husband’s tenure as rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in Meridian, Ackerman taught preconfirmation classes and led worship services when her husband was ill or out of town. Initially hesitant when the congregation invited her to succeed her husband as rabbi following his death in 1950, she accepted the position when the congregation received informal permission from Maurice *Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Ackerman viewed this invitation as a divine call to service and an opportunity "to plant a seed for enlarged activity for the Jewish woman." Soon after, Eisendrath withdrew his approval, maintaining that he had become convinced that congregational leaders unqualified to discharge full rabbinical duties would create more problems than they would solve. However, the synagogue’s leadership upheld the appointment, declaring that "practically all of the members of our congregation believe she is qualified, and we want her." Paula Ackerman served as Temple Beth Israel’s spiritual leader from January 1951 through the fall of 1953; she conducted services, preached, taught, and officiated at weddings, funerals, and conversions. Attracting international attention from the press, she erroneously was labeled "America’s first Lady Rabbi." After retirement, she remained active on city, state, and national religious and cultural boards and traveled throughout the U.S., lecturing on religious themes. In 1962, she briefly served as spiritual leader of Temple BethEl in Pensacola until a new rabbi could be found. In 1986 the Union of American Hebrew Congregations formally recognized her pioneering contribution to Jewish communal life at a special ceremony held at The Temple in Atlanta.


(1914- ), hazzan. Ackerman was born in Kishinev (Bessarabia). He sang in synagogue choirs from his childhood on. He studied cantorial liturgy under David Roitman, David Moshe Steinberg, and Abraham Kalechnik, and led the services at the Kishinev synagogue. Wounded by the Nazis in World War 11, he nevertheless succeeded in escaping to Russia. In 1945 he conducted services in the Great Synagogue in Moscow and then returned to Romania, where he was cantor in the Baron Rothschild synagogue and Ahavat Achim in Bucharest. In 1950 he moved to Israel and served in the Beth El synagogue, Tel Aviv, and from 1952 to 1954 he was chief cantor in the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv. At the same time he was chairman of the Israel Cantors’ Association. From 1955 to 1982 he was cantor of the Beth Abraham Hillel Moses synagogue in Detroit. From 1983 he was cantor of Temple Beth Israel in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The Shabtai Ackerman Scholarship Fund was established in his name. In 1985 he became chairman of the Florida Cantors Association. His recordings include Songs of the Ages – Cantorial Masterpieces.


(d. 1811), physician, born in Mogilev (White Russia). Ackord, who studied medicine in Berlin, received his medical diploma in 1788 in St. Petersburg. From 1789 he served as an army doctor in Kiev and in Wasilkov, and subsequently practiced as a civilian. Interested in the reform of Jewish conditions in Poland, Ackord translated an anonymous pamphlet, Die Juden oder die nothwendige Reformation der Juden in der Republik Polen (1786), from Polish into German, urging the necessity of improving the status of Polish Jewry. Ackord recorded with satisfaction that he, a native of Poland, was able to translate the work into German. He attacked and amended several of the writer’s conclusions, stating that they were insulting to the Jews. He denied the author’s assertion that Jews opposed secular learning, adding that they had been prevented from receiving a higher education. His arguments reflect the influence of the school of Moses Mendelssohn and the scholars of the Haskalah.


(1515-1580), Marrano physician and botanist. Acosta’s father, probably born a Jew and a victim of the Forced Conversion in Portugal in 1497, emigrated first to one of the Portuguese fortresses in North Africa and then to Mozambique, where Acosta was born. He studied in Portugal, qualified as a physician, and in this capacity accompanied the Portuguese viceroy Luis de Ataide in 1568 to India, where he spent many years in medical practice. In 1569-71 he was a physician at the Royal Hospital in Cochin. Later he undertook many long and arduous journeys, suffering shipwreck, captivity, and many hardships in Persia, China, Arabia, and North Africa. The trips were for the purpose of studying natural history. On his return he settled down in Burgos (Spain) where he spent the rest of his life. Acosta’s main interest in his travels was the study of the medicinal plants of the East Indies. His great work on the subject was Tractado de las drogas y medicinas de las Indias Orientales con sus Plantas debusca-das al vivo. This treatise was originally published in Burgos in 1578, and describes 69 plants and other sources of medicines, with illustrations of 46 plants and their roots. Acosta was undoubtedly influenced by Garcia da *Orta, whom he knew in India, but he revealed originality in his reproduction of certain plants from nature. Acosta’s Tractado de las drogas was translated into Latin, Italian, and French. There is no evidence that Acosta had any Jewish leanings, despite his ancestry; and indeed he wrote two works which breathe a spirit of Catholic piety: Tractado en contra ypro de la vida so-litaria, and Tractado en loor de las mujeres de la caridad (both Venice, 1592). In the latter work, Acosta describes himself as "Cristobal Acosta Affricano."


(Yhsak; d. 1728), French Sephardi rabbi. Probably a native of Amsterdam, Acosta became hazzan of the Jewish community of Peyrehorade, near Bayonne, formed by Marrano fugitives from the Iberian Peninsula. His Historia Sacra Real (1691), dedicated to the wardens of the community, is one of the earliest manifestations of Judaism in this place. Later (apparently after an interlude in Biarritz) he succeeded R. Hayyim de Mercado as hakham at Bayonne, where he composed his handbook for the administration of the last rites to the dying, Via de Salvacion (1709; reprinted by M. Kaplan, Bayonne, 1874), and his major work, Conjeturas Sagradas (Leyden, 1722), a commentary in Spanish on the Early Prophets, based on the classical Hebrew commentators and the Midrash.


(17^-18^ centuries), court jester of Czar Peter 1 of Russia, descended from a Portuguese Marrano family. After prolonged wanderings in Western Europe, he settled in Hamburg as a broker and from there reached the new Russian capital, St. Petersburg. His quick wit and command of many European languages brought him to court, and in 1714 he was appointed court jester. At the time this was a position of some importance, since it was the jester’s function to ridicule the customs of the old Russian society, in order to facilitate transition to a western European mode of life. D’Acosta had a wide knowledge of the Scriptures and the Czar enjoyed conversing with him on theological subjects. D’Acosta reached an old age and also served as jester at the court of the czarina Anna.


Town in Piedmont, Italy. Jews began to settle in Ac-qui, then in the independent marquisate of Montferrat, during the 15th century. The Gonzaga dynasty, which ruled from 1536, was at first kindly disposed toward the Jews, failing to comply with the Papal order to confiscate the Talmud in 1553, and in 1562 protecting them from mob violence. Later its attitude became influenced by Counter-Reformation trends and in 1570 the Jews in Acqui were ordered to wear the Jewish *badge and live apart from Christians. Both the war fought in 1612-31 and the plague of 1630 were disastrous for the Jews of Acqui. The only loan bank then allowed failed in 1614. In 1630 Jewish property was pillaged. Conditions improved under the Gonzaga-Nevers dynasty. However, from 1708, under the rule of the House of Savoy, conditions again deteriorated. In 1731, the 41 Jewish families were restricted to living in a ghetto, although they were permitted to maintain loanbanks. A further source of livelihood was the textile industry, some Jews in Acqui owning silk or cotton mills. The ghetto became heavily overcrowded when the Jews of Monastero had to move there in 1737. By the end of the 18th century, their position had improved markedly, although as late as 1789 Jews were debarred from appearing in public on feast days. When the French Republican armies entered Acqui in 1796, Abraham Azariah (Bonaiut) Ottolenghi, later the rabbi, zealously took up the revolutionary cause. Disorders followed the French retreat, however, and the Ottolenghi family in particular suffered. Jews were excluded from attending public schools in Acqui for some time after they had been permitted to do so in most of Piedmont. At the beginning of the 19th century the Jewish population numbered about 700. In 1848 the Jews were emancipated and the ghetto abolished. The Jewish population, which numbered only 500 in 1870, decreased to 200 by 1899, and 50 a generation later. By the late 1960s there were no Jews living in Acqui. Rabbis of Acqui include Joshua Ben-Zion *Segre (18th century) and several members of the Ottolenghi family. The old synagogue was demolished, together with the ghetto, in 1881, and a new one constructed in the Via Jona Ottolenghi, which still stands.


(Hebtmp2C45_thumbthe act whereby a person voluntarily obtains legal rights. In Jewish law almost all kinds of rights, whether proprietary (jus in rem) or contractual (jus in personam; see ^Obligations), can be voluntarily acquired only by way of kinyan. Acquisition of rights by way of kinyan can be divided into three groups:

(1) Acquiring ownership over ownerless property (hef-ker) such as animals, fish in river or ocean, and lost property which the owner has abandoned hope of finding; (2) rights over property which has an owner, acquisition being by way of sale or gift. Acquisition of ownerless property (original acquisition) is called in the Talmud, ein daat aheret maknah (literally "when no other mind conveys title") and acquisition from a previous owner (derivative acquisition) is called da’at aheret maknah ("another mind conveys title"). In this latter group are also included lesser rights than ownership (jura in re aliena) such as a lease or an easement; (3) contractual or personal rights such as debts, or the hiring of workmen, the acquisition of which also depends upon "another mind conveying the right."

In the case of original acquisition the formalities of acquiring title are to demonstrate that the property is in unrestricted possession of the person acquiring it, meaning that he has the ability and intent to use it whenever he wishes to do so, which includes the power to prevent others from interfering with that use. The halakhah enumerates, according to objective tests, the acts by which people would usually recognize that the property is in the possession of the acquirer. Consequently, the list of recognized forms of original acquisition is a closed one.

With regard to derivative acquisition, however, the function of kinyan is not to demonstrate that it has passed into the possession of the person acquiring it, but that the alienator and the acquirer had determined to conclude the transaction. In fact, the party acquiring title performs the kinyan, and the alienator expresses his approval orally. The sole reason for a formal kinyan is that a mere oral agreement may not be taken seriously and might enable the parties to withdraw from the proposed transaction. For this reason derivative acquisition can be effected in a greater variety of ways than original acquisition; when the parties derive mutual benefit from the transaction showing that they have wholeheartedly reached an agreement to conclude it, no formal kinyan is even required (R. Johanan, bm 94a). For the same reason an acquisition is valid if done in a mode customary among local merchants even though different from the talmudic kinyanim (Sh. Ar., h m 201:2). Since in the case of derivative acquisition the kinyan serves not to show possession but to indicate that the parties made up their minds to conclude the transaction, it can also be used for creation of contractual rights, such as a duty to sell something which is not yet in existence (davar she-lo ba la-olam) – even though one cannot effect transfer of a non-existent object (see "Assignment; Sh. Ar., h m 60:6). The acquisition of rights requires "intention" on the part of the acquirer. The statement in the Talmud (bm 11a) that "a person’s premises acquire for him without his knowledge" (see below) must therefore be taken to refer to the acquisition of such an object as the owner of the premises would have desired to acquire had he known of its presence there, and it must, by the same token, be property which is usually found there (Tos. to bb 54a).

There are general modes of kinyan which apply to both original and derivative acquisition, and others which apply only to derivative acquisition by way of sale and gift. Under the first class come:

(1) Kinyan H az er

("Acquisition through one’s courtyard"). A person’s premises "acquire" for him such movable property as comes into it. Since, as stated, the property must be within his possession and control, such premises, in order to "acquire" on his behalf, must be fenced in, or "he stands at the side thereof" guarding what is in it (bm 11a), or that others keep away from the premises for any other reason (ibid. 102a). Consequently a shopkeeper does not acquire property lost in his shop, if it is in a place to which customers have access, but only if it is in a place to which he alone has access (Maim. Yad, Gezelah, 16:4). Nor does a person acquire anything in premises to which the public has access (Novellae Rashba to bm 25b). Similarly, a man’s premises do not acquire fledglings because they can fly away (bm 11a) or chattels which may be blown away (Git. 79a). Similarly, treasure hidden in the ground, even of guarded premises, belongs to the finder (bm 25b) and not to the owner of the ground because the owner is not likely to find it because it is hidden, and therefore he has no control of it. The h azer need not necessarily be immovable property; the same rule applied to utensils if their owner had the right to leave them in a certain place where they would not be removed (bb 85a). It follows that a person’s animal cannot acquire for him since it is a "moving courtyard" (Git. 21a) and may wander beyond its owner’s care, On the other hand, a boat would "acquire" for its owner fish which leap into it (bm 9b) since it is property guarded by its owner. With regard to derivative acquisition, since there is no need to demonstrate that the property is in the possession of its acquirer, even an unguarded hazer can acquire according to one opinion (bm 11b).

(2) Arba Ammot

("Four cubits"). The area round a person having a radius of four cubits is regarded as having the same properties as a h az er, providing that he is in a place where he has control over the article (bm 10b). There seems to be a difference between the Babylonian and the Jerusalem Talmuds with regard to kinyan by arba ammot. According to the former it acquires even without an express formula on the individual’s part, unless he has clearly stated or indicated that he does not wish to acquire and the Talmud refers to it as applying only to original acquisitions. The Jerusalem Talmud, on the other hand, requires an express declaration on his part that his arba ammot shall acquire the article for him (Elijah of Vilna to tj, Pe’ah 4:2) and makes this rule apply also to derivative acquisition. Opinions differ as to the capacity of minors to acquire by kinyan hazer or arba ammot (bm 11a).

(3) Hagbahah

("lifting"), Meshikhah ("pulling") and Mesirah ("transfer")

Movable objects are acquired by hagbahah in the case of articles which can be lifted without difficulty; where they are too heavy, or can be raised only with difficulty, meshikhah takes its place (bb 86a). Both serve to demonstrate that the article thereby comes into the acquirer’s possession, and is guarded for him as in his hazer. The article may be raised merely by the force of his body (Tos. to bk 98a). There is a difference of opinion as to whether it must be lifted one handsbreadth or three (Tos. to Kid., 26a). Meshikhah, applying to an animal, can be effected by striking or calling it so that it comes to one (bb 75a) or by leading or riding it (bm 8b). The prevailing opinion is that meshikhah applies only in premises owned by both parties or in a side street (bb 76b), but not in a public place. According to one opinion, however, it is effective in a public thoroughfare as well (tj, Kid. 1:4, Tos. to bk 79a). The above-mentioned methods of kinyan apply both to original and derivative acquisition, but in cases of derivative acquisition the express permission of the alienator to the acquirer to perform kinyan is an indispensable element in the kinyan (bk 52a; bb 53a). These methods of kinyan apply also to personal obligations, such as those of a bailee (Tos. to bk 79a) or an artisan for his work (bm 48a; see *Labor Law). Me-sirah consists of grasping at the object to be acquired (bb 75b) and the term mesirah indicates that it is done at the behest of the transferor (Tos. to ibid.) Since it does not demonstrate intention to control the subject matter which is a necessary element of possession, it applies only to derivative acquisition. It is employed where meshikhah is ineffective, i.e., in a public place or in an hazer not belonging to either party.

(4) H azakah

Whereas all the foregoing modes of acquisition apply to movables only, in the case of immovable property acquisition is by an act of hazakah (Kid. 26a) which consists of any act usually done by an owner, such as fencing, opening a gateway or locking the premises (bb 42a), or weeding or hoeing (ibid., 54a), or putting down a mattress to sleep there (ibid., 53b). In general, any improvement of the land is regarded as an act usually done by the owner (Maim. Yad, Mekhirah, 1:8). Such an act as preventing floodwaters from inundating a field, however, would not constitute a hazakah as it could be regarded simply as a voluntary neighborly act (bb 53a). There is a difference of opinion as to whether merely traversing the land is acquiring as it constitutes an act usually done by the owner (bb 100a). With regard to a sale or gift, the land acquired by the hazakah includes everything stipulated by the parties (Sh. Ar, h m 192:12); with regard to ownerless property, it includes only such part as is patently seen to be in his possession (ibid. 275:3-9). As with meshikhah, in the case of derivative acquisition the alienator must specifically instruct the acquirer to take possession, or otherwise indicate his consent (bk 52a; bb 53a). There are forms of acquisition by h azakah which apply either to original or to derivative acquisition, but not to both (Sh. Ar., h m 275:12-13). (For the h azakah established by three years’ possession which is a method of proof and does not come within the category of kinyan, see *Hazakah).

The following methods of kinyan apply to derivative acquisitions only because they do not demonstrate possession but rather the intention of the parties to conclude the transaction:

(5) Kinyan Kesef

("Acquisition by money"). The transfer by the purchaser to the seller of the agreed monetary price of the article. R. Johanan is of the view that in strict law this mode of kinyan applies both to movables and immovables, and with regard to derivative acquisition the kinyan was done by paying money only and not by hagbahah and meshikhah. But it was enacted that instead of paying money meshikhah should be necessary, since if the object remains in the possession of the transferor he may not guard it against being destroyed by fire or other dangers (bm 47a). Similarly, the need for a deed (shetar) was added in the case of immovables (Kid. 26a). The Jerusalem Talmud (Kid. 1:5) indicates other modes of kinyan with regard to immovables, one based on the removal of a shoe as mentioned in Ruth 4:7, and the other being *kez az ah, without any indication of the period when those modes were practiced. But kesef, shetar, and hazakah alone remained. However, even though, since tannaitic times, neither movables nor immovables were acquired solely by kinyan kesef, the sale of immovables was not regarded as completed until the money had passed, though it could be paid to a third party according to the seller’s instructions (Kid. 7a). Where only part of the purchase money is paid, the balance being postponed by the transferor in the form of a loan, even if only implicitly and without the loan being expressly stated, the part payment concludes the transaction, unless it is clear from the conduct of the transferor that this part payment did not complete the transaction, even if kinyan took place (bm 77b). Kinyan kesef is already mentioned in the Bible (Gen. 23; Jer. 32:6-15).

(6) Kinyan Shetar

("Acquisition by deed"). In kinyan shetar the deed is not just evidence of the act of acquisition but constitutes the act of acquisition itself (shetar kinyan, Sh. Ar., hm 191:2). The vendor writes on paper or other material "my field is given (or sold) to you" and the receipt of that deed by the purchaser establishes his title even in the absence of witnesses (ibid., l). Movables cannot be acquired by shetar. Kinyan shetar is already mentioned in the Bible (Jer. 32).

(7) Halifin ("barter"), Kinyan Sudar

("Kinyan of the Kerchief")

The exchange of property is as effective as the payment of money in establishing acquisition, even if the two objects exchanged are not of equal value. Thus, if the alienator draws to him an article owned by the acquirer the transaction is affected. Halifin cannot however be effected by current coinage since this would constitute kinyan kesef, which depends upon the monetary value (see bm 45b). Out of this there developed the act of acquisition called kinyan sudar, which is therefore also called kinyan halifin (Kid, 6b; et al.). The kerchief (sudar) is merely pulled by the acquirer and can then be returned to the owner (ibid., Ned. 48b). This mode of acquisition being very easy to perform in all kinds of situations, it became so prevalent that it is referred to simply as kinyan (cf. Git. 14a;bm 94a; bb 3a). The origin of kinyan sudar may be traced to Ruth 4:7. Throughout the tannaitic period it is never expressly mentioned. It is first mentioned at the beginning of the amo-raic period in the dispute as to whether, as in the case of barter proper, the sudar must belong to the acquirer, or to the alienator (bm 47a); the former view prevailed. Apparently, because of the simplicity of this mode of acquisition, this kinyan is not regarded as completed even after the ceremony, as long as the parties are still talking about the deal (bb 114a).

(8) Aggav Karka

("The acquisition of movables incidental to land.") Movables may be acquired as an adjunct to land, the act of kinyan being performed only with regard to the land (Kid. 26a). It probably originated in the acquisition of a courtyard with everything contained therein (cf. Tosef., bb 2:13) or similar cases as field, olive press, etc. subsequently being extended to apply to everything belonging to them (cf. bb 78a), even if not actually there at the time of the transaction, and finally to all movables of unlimited amount being sold incidentally to any immovable property, even if they do not have any connection whatever with it (Kid. 26b). Thus the movables did not have to be assembled (ibid. 26a-b) except in the case of slaves (bk 12a). The final development was to acquire movables as an adjunct to an unspecified piece of land (Sh. Ar., h m 202:7 gloss) and the land could be acquired by sale and the movables as a gift, and conversely. As a facile mode of acquiring movables, not necessitating the presence of the parties on the site, it was in operation for long periods, In the geonic period the "four cubits in Erez Israel" which every Jew theoretically owns, was made the basis of a practice whereby an agent could be appointed to recover a deposit or a debt, aggav karka, of these four cubits (Maim. Yad, Sheluhin, 3:7).

(9) Usage and Custom

Generally speaking, any custom adopted by the local merchants as a mode of acquisition is valid according to Jewish law (Sh. Ar., h m 201:2), since it fulfills the principle that the purpose of the kinyan is to bring about the decision of the parties to conclude the transaction. Conversely, when a once accepted mode of acquisition fell into desuetude it could no longer be employed (cf. C. Albeck, Shishah Sidrei Mishnah, Seder Nashim (1958), 410-12; addenda to Kid. 1:4-5). The Babylonian Talmud mentions the custom of wine-merchants marking the barrels they had purchased (bm 74a), and in post-talmudic times three such customs prevalent among Christians were adopted since they fulfilled the same function as "affixing a mark" (Sh. Ar., h m 201:2). They are (a) the handshake (Teki’at kaf) mentioned in Proverbs 6:1 as a form of giving surety (Piskei ha-Rosh, bm 74a in the name of "R.H.," probably the tosafist H ayyim Cohen and not R. Hananel, who expressed a contrary view; see Or Zarua, bm 231). Some authorities even regarded a handshake as the equivalent of an oath (Mordekhai to Shevu. 757) but others regarded it as an act of acquisition (for the parallel among Christians see Palmata, Handschlag);

(b) the handing over of a coin by the purchaser to the vendor, which was originally a medieval Christian custom (Arrha, earnest money); and (c) handing over a key – the vendor hands to the purchaser the key of the premises where the merchandise is housed. Handing over a key is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud (bk 52a; Tos. to ibid.), but only as the authorization by the alienator for the acquirer to make the kinyan hazakah and in the Jerusalem Talmud as a mode of derivative acquisition of the building (Mareh ha-Panim to Kid. 1:4). As a mode of acquiring movables it was a Christian custom (Traditio cla-vium; see B. Cohen, Jewish and Roman Law, 2 (1966), 538-56), Present day rabbinical courts have applied the principle of regarding local custom as valid; thus the transfer of immovable property through registration in the Land Registry is a valid kinyan in Jewish Law (pdr, 1:283).

(10) Acquisition with No Formal Act

Where it is clear that the parties concerned decide a transaction to their mutual benefit and satisfaction a formal kinyan is not essential (see Ket. 102b; Git. 14a; bm 94a; bb 176b; cf. Maim. Yad, Mekhirah, 5:11). This rule obtains generally with regard to personal obligations but can include rights in rem (see bb 106b and Haggahot ha-Rashash on Tos. Bek. 18b). This principle was extended in the post-talmudic period (Hai Gaon, in Hlemdah Genuzah, no. 135; responsa Meir of Rothen-burg, ed. Prague, 941; responsa Ribash 476; Sh. Ar., h m 176:4). For other modes of acquisition see "Admission, "Assignment, "Confiscation and Expropriation, *Hefker, *Hekdesh, *Succes-sion, *Theft, and Robbery.

In the state of Israel, sale is governed by the Law of Sale, 1968, based on the uniform international draft (Hague, 1964); gift is governed by the Law of Gift, 1968; and the acquisition of immovables by the Land Law, 1969. Ownership, in the case of sale, passes by way of offer and acceptance and, in case of gift, by delivery of the property. Transfer of title to land becomes valid only on registration in the Land Registry. Contractual obligations are created by agreement between the parties in any manner whatever. Legislation vests ownership of all unowned property in the state, which cannot therefore be originally acquired.

Legal Acts Which Do Not Require a Kinyan

Further to the above discussion regarding the requirement of a kinyan in order to give force to a legal act, it should be noted that as of the 13th century, we find the legal principle that any legal transaction undertaken by the public is valid even in the absence of a formal kinyan, "Any thing that is done by the public does not require a kinyan, [even] in a situation in which an individual would require a kinyan" (Responsa Maharam of Rothenburg, cited in Mordekhai, Bava Mezia, #457-458). This new principle was applied to various categories of legal transactions, such as employer-employee relations, guarantees and gifts, and other legal matters to which the public is a party (see Responsa Maharam b. Reb Barukh (Prague), 38;Responsa Ribash, §476; Sh. Ar., h m 163. 6 (Rema); 204.9; Responsa Mayim Amukkim; Responsa Raanah – Rabbi Eliahu b. Rabbi Hayyim, §63). The established and accepted rule was that "whatever the leaders of the community agree to do has validity without a kinyan" (Responsa Rosh, Kelal 6.19, 21). This distinction between the kinyan of an individual and the kinyan of the public or its representatives also affected the application of other basic requirements normally applying to the kinyan. Thus, a public authority has full authority to acquire or transfer something not yet in existence; despite the general rule of Jewish law that "asmakhta does not convey title" (see *Asmakhta), the acts of a public authority are valid even where performed by way of asmakhta (Responsa Mayim Amukim, op cit.; Responsa Mabit 3. 228; see ^Contract, Law of Obligations").

The above-cited sources served as a basis for the Supreme Court’s ruling, given by Justice Elon, regarding the heightened requirement of good faith imposed on the public authority in its actions performed within the realm of the law (hc 376/81, Lugassi v. Minister of Communications, 36(2) pd 449). Additional sources are cited further on in the decision (pp. 465-471; see *Public Authority and Administrative Law).

An additional category in which there is no need for a kinyan in order to give force to a legal act is the area of wills (see ^Succession). Generally speaking, a will must be accompanied by a kinyan in order to prove the finality of the decision and to give it legal force. However, in the case of a will made on a deathbed (the will of a shekhiv me-ra) – that is, one made by a person who is ill and in danger of dying, or a healthy person in a situation causing him to regard himself as facing death – the will is valid even without a kinyan, because we assume that, due to the unique circumstances involved in its making, it was performed as a final decision (Maimonides, Yad, Zekhiyah u-matanah 8.2, 4, 24, 26.)

In an Israeli Supreme Court decision in the Koenig case (fh 80/40 Koenig v. Cohen, 36(3) pd 701), Justice Menahem Elon held that this halakhic rule should determine the interpretation of Section 23 of the Succession Law, 5725-1964. Section 23 utilizes the Talmudic term "shekhiv me-ra" (Lit: moribund] in referring to a person making a will when on the point of death:

A person who is a shekhiv me-ra or who under the circumstances reasonably regards himself as facing death may make an oral will before two witnesses who understand his language.

Justice Elon ruled that Section 23′s use of the Talmudic term shekhiv me-ra indicates the origin of the law in the Jewish law regarding a deathbed will, and hence the applicability of the Jewish Law regarding the deathbed will (= zavaat shekhiv me-ra). The decision in the Koenig case dealt with a case in which a woman left a will made on a piece of paper without a date and signature just before she killed herself. The justices disagreed regarding the legal validity of the will, and Justice Elon contended that the will should be seen as a deathbed will and hence should be considered valid, notwithstanding its deficiencies and flaws (ibid, pp. 733-38.)

Alternative Explanation of the Essence of Kinyan Sudar

According to another view, kinyan sudar is not a derivative of kinyan halifin (barter), i.e., the exchange of property, but derives rather from the institution of surety (see ^Suretyship). The transaction takes effect when the conveyor of title, or the obligatee, undertakes to bind himself (meshabed nafsho) (bm 47a). In other words: he places himself in the "position" of a purchaser, conveyor of title, debtor, worker, etc., in accordance with the legal action for purpose of which kinyan su-dar is performed.


(from the Greek akros, "high"), fortress established in Jerusalem on a site in close proximity to the Jewish Temple in 167 b.c.e. by Antiochus Epiphanes in order to keep the Jewish population of the city in subjection. It seems to have replaced another Hellenistic citadel (acropolis) used as the administrative center for the eparchos, who was responsible for maintaining public order and collecting revenues from the inhabitants, but little information about this place is known except that it was the place to which Menelaus fled when the fortifications of the city were breached by Jason (ii Macc. 4:27, 5:5). It was also mentioned in the Letter of Aristeas (2nd century b.c.e.) as situated "in a very lofty spot and [it] is fortified with many towers, which have been built up to the very top with immense stones, with the object, as we were informed, of guarding the Temple precincts …" The exact topographical situation of the subsequent Seleucid Acra is also unclear. It was built in 167 b.c.e. following the destruction of the city by Antiochus iv and was in use until it was dismantled by Simon or Jonathan at the time of the construction of the "First Wall" fortifications of Jerusalem c. 140 b.c.e. During the Maccabean revolt the Acra was regarded as a symbol of wickedness and inequity overshadowing the Temple of the pious. Various attempts were made by Judah Maccabee and the Hasmonean Jonathan to oust the Greeks from their stronghold, with success eventually falling to Simon (i Macc. 13:49-50) on the 23 Iyyar of 142 (Meg. Ta’an., 2) and it was he who subsequently had it leveled. Josephus Flavius in his writings (Ant., 12:252, 13:215; Wars, 1:39, 5:138, 253, 6:392) pointed to the Acra as situated in the Lower City, i.e., in the area of the southeastern hill (the "City of David"), at the same time indicating that it was higher than the adjacent Temple Mount which therefore allowed the Greek garrison to control the activities in the area of the Temple. Scholars regarded the situation of the Acra as suggested by Josephus unsustainable on both topographical and archaeological grounds, since the Lower City area had always been substantially lower than the uppermost part of the Temple Mount area, and also because excavations in the City of David area had not brought to light remains of a separate Hellenistic fortress. Hence, alternative locations for the Seleucid Acra were sought by scholars – on the Ophel, at the southeast corner of the Temple Mount, north of the Temple Mount, and at various places on the Western Hill – none of which could be proven archaeologically. Of these the Ophel seems to be the most likely location since it was situated within the area of the northern extension of the "City of David" in the Lower City and also because it was a topographical prominence which could very well have supported a building or tower that easily might have reached the level of the adjacent Temple Mount, i.e., a height of 60-100 ft. (20-30 m.).


Place on the edge of the desert in the eastern Samaria mountains. Acraba is a site with archaeological remains from the Roman and Byzantine periods. The site has not been excavated but surveys conducted there in the 19th century by V. Guerin, C.F. Tyrwhitt-Drake, and C. Clermont-Ganneau revealed the remains of numerous ancient buildings, including a church, Greek inscriptions, cisterns, an open reservoir (birkeh), and a number of burial caves. The site was inhabited during the Late Hellenistic period by Idumeans, Samaritans, and Jews. The site was apparently part of a toparchy that was established in the area during the Hellenistic period. First mentioned in 1 Macc. 5:3 and Judith 7:18, the town was later conquered by Hyrcanus and added to the territory of Judea. It was a Jewish village during the First and Second Jewish Revolts and was subsequently transferred to the dominion of the city of Neapolis [= Shechem]. Acrabbeim was mentioned by Euse-bius (Onom. 14) as situated on the "boundary of Judea toward the east, belonging to the tribe of Judah. There is a town by this name nine miles (15 km.) from Neapolis to the east heading down toward the Jordan, on the way to Jericho across the toparchy called Acrabattene." The site appears on the Madaba map of the mid-sixth century c.e. with the Greek inscription: "Akrabim, now Akrabittine." Two Monophysite monasteries may have existed at the site according to a sixth century c.e. epistle, one was dedicated to St. Stephen and the other was founded by a certain Abbot Titus. The village still exists today (Aqraba) and is inhabited by Moslems – the mosque is apparently situated above the remains of a church.

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