Schem (also known as Nablus) is a city of great historical importance for many people. For Jews, the city is important because it is:
· Where Abraham made his first stop in the Promised Land and built an altar to G-d;
· Where Jacob (Yisrael) came after returning from Padan-Aram, buying his first piece of property and building an altar to G-d;
· Where Jacob built a well that is still in use today, making it the oldest continuously used artifact on Earth;
· What was assigned to Josephs sons Ephraim and Menasheh, when the Land of Israel was divided among the Twelve Tribes;
· Where Joshua, following a command from Moses, anchored stones and wrote down all the words of the Law;
· Where Josephs bones were ultimately buried (on the plot of ground that had been purchased centuries earlier by his father, Jacob)
Schem also has importance to non-Jews. It is the place where the Samaritans, a sect which broke off from the Jews during the Temple period, developed. The Samaritans built their own Temple in Schem, and, even today, Samaritan priests still sacrifice the Passover Lamb in the Samaritan Temple. Finally, of importance to Christians, Schem is where Jesus made his first public convert and held his first two-day outdoor Evangelistic meeting.
ã 2000 StateofIsrael.com. All rights reserved.