Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Judaism/Archive 5

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Where is the bias?

The main page proclaims:

"The current viewpoint of articles tends towards a Conservadox (Liberal Modern Orthodox) point of view. Partially this is because other points of view find it more difficult to discuss all topics. However, this point of view is quite biased against more Orthodox viewpoints and possible against more liberal viewpoints as well."

I don't see the bias. We are following NPOV rules in all of our articles. As long as we continue to do so, we will be fine. All of our articles may be seen as being biased towards Conservative and Modern Orthodox Judaism, due to the fact that the intellectual leaders of these movements have policies similar to NPOV rules. In contrast, most ultra-Orthodox Jews, (Hasidic and Non-Hasidic) are virtulently anti-historical, and view all historical research as anti-Semitic and heretical. But that is always a complaint made by fundamentalists about all non-religious encyclopedias. Wikipedia has a long history of being attacked by fundamentalist Muslims as being biased against their interpretation of Islam; Wikipedia has a long history of being attacked by fundamentalist Jews as being biased against their interpretation of Judaism; and Wikipedia has a long history of being attacked by fundamentalist Christians as being biased against their interpretation of Christianity. What they offer instead is a total violation of NPOV methodology. Their objections merely prove that the historical survery, NPOV style of writing which we currently have in our articles is the correct one to have. RK 13:37, Jul 14, 2004 (UTC)

My thoughts, exactly!--Josiah 16:58, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I actually disagree. There is not enough Conservadox viewpoint and a lot of stuff in the articles is pure reform pretending to be traditional Judaism. I know that comment will not increase my popularity, but I think my popularity is low enough so as not to make much difference even if I didn't post it.Zestauferov 11:05, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC) The reason I say not enough is because at least the conservadox POV is the closest one will find to NPOV in the subject. We are witnessing a see-saw back and fourth between two conflicting points of view (traditional and revisionist). It is impossible to talk about one core Judaism unlike christianity because it is not a religion with fundamental pillars. If we say the core is something being based around Torah then it is just too wide. The orthodox religion would say living Torah is the fundamental pillar. I don't know what reform Jews would say, probably something like keeping alive the memory of Torah. The two are incompatible in the same paragraph since all the subsequrnt fundamental views will differ. I think we have to have an agreed format based upon chronology where the traditional (i.e. orthodox) perspectives are surmised followed by a comparison of all the revisionist perspectives under separate subheaddings. I don't know. Something like that anyway.Zestauferov 21:02, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Wikiproject categories

If the project branches out endlessly it will have more trouble defining its subject matter and will attract more edit warring that is warranted. The secret of keeping this project succesful and viable is limiting its scope for the time being. JFW | T@lk

I agree with JFW here. What are everyone's thoughts on merging some of the categories together, if possible?--Josiah 02:23, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)
At this time the categories are both sufficiently broad enough yet are divided logically. How on Earth would one combine categories with over fifty articles with others of a similar nature? We are not dealing with morons, any person with average intelligence will be able to very quickly find whatever they need simply and efficiently with the present categories. A lot of thought, time and work has gone into the Category:Jews and Judaism. Who is to blame that Wikipedia contains thousands of Jewish-related articles? We have to work with what we've got. IZAK 19:41, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Topics That can use Templates

  • Jewish Books

(See Category:Jewish texts)

  • Rabbis (geonim, rishonim, acharonim)

(See Category:Rabbis)

  • Halachos of Shabbos

(See Category:Jewish law and rituals)

  • Prayers

(See Category:Jewish law and rituals)

  • Holidays

(See Category:Jewish holy days)

  • Time periods in Jewish History

(See Category:Jewish history)

  • Masechtot and/or Sedarim of the Talmud

(See Category:Mishnah and Category:Talmud)

  • Books of Tanach (Hebrew Bible) (this template is functional)

(See Category:Torah and Category:Hebrew Bible/Tanakh

  • Jewish cities
I don't understand; what is a "Jewish city"? A city built by Jews? A city that has mostly Jews in it? A city in the State of Israel? All Wikipedia articles on cities should have the same format in all cases. RK 03:04, Jul 15, 2004 (UTC)
I agree with RK in this regard. It is better to just call them places or geography. Contextually in an article it will be understood to what extent they were or are "Jewish".


IZAK 06:51, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The Bible

I would like to make a radical suggestion related to the above two points, and to the next one. Every culture and religion on WP has its its literature discussed objectively and fairly (hopefully), but nevertheless merits articles presenting it as part of that culture. In the case of Judaism and Christianity, however, because the canon is partially shared, there is a great deal of conflict, implied bias, and a deep sense that a meaningful picture is hard to paint within some of the articles. This is especially true for the biblical books.

I think most of us would agree that reading the Bible is two different "worlds" in the Jewish and Christian traditions. (I write this as someone who was and is involved in interfaith activities, including study groups. The meeting between the two worlds can be fascinating and meaningful, but they remain two different worlds.) Therefore, I suggest the following radical idea: That articles on the biblical books be parallel. I.e. one article on the history of Christian interpretation and study, another on the how the book was and is studied in the Jewish traditions. These articles need not be POV: A "Jewish" article, for instance, can and must, for instance, discuss how Christian exegesis influenced Jewish study, how Jewish study has been influenced by modern theories, etc. But there should still be to separate articles. How to give them titles would also take some thought. Do people agree with me?Dovi 20:08, Jul 15, 2004 (UTC)
I think the idea of two articles makes a lot of sense, each one linking to the other at the bottom. Jayjg 15:04, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Among ourselves, we agreed upon the above in July. Nevertheless, we should be aware that there are wikipedians out there who are quite zealous about merging articles. Whether the term "Hebrew Bible" should be merged or not is a separate question (I think not). But regardless, everyone should have a look at the talk pages there, where even "Tanakh" and "Old Testament" are up to be merged. I made my point there already; I suggest that others go and do the same. Dovi 16:08, Sep 6, 2004 (UTC)

Jewish news box

What was that Jewish news box that appeared in the Jews and Judaism article? How is it maintained? Who decides what goes in it? Jayjg 15:29, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I made the box, but I'm not sure where to put it. For now it is on my user page. If you wish to put it on a page you can add the following to your page (You can only see it in edit mode):
Jewish News
* Haaretz: Disengagement imminent!
Hebrew Calendar
August 6, 2005 - Rosh Chodesh Av - Beginning of The Nine Days of mourning
August 14, 2005 - Tisha B'Av - Fast commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem
August 6, 2005 - 1 Av 5765
August 13, 2005 - 8 Av 5765
August 13, 2005 - 15 Av 5765
August 27, 2005 - 22 Av 5765
If you want to edit it there is a link to edit it. --Ezra Wax 02:17, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
How are the items in it updated? Jayjg 02:57, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Click here: edit. There is also a link in the box itself. If you want to add an item, just copy a previous item and change it. You can also edit the items in place. Each line in the table begins with | and each line has to be separated by |- as you will see if when you edit the table. --Ezra Wax 03:35, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
So people would just decide for themselves what "Jewish news" was worthwhile noting? Jayjg 15:16, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Ezra Wax has taken it upon himself to insert this into many articles. On their own, many other Wikipedia editors removed it. I agree with the removal. Not that I am against having Jewish news, but it seems inappropriate to have Jewish news in all of our Judaism articles, Christian news in our Christianity articles, etc. We're an encyclopedia, not a newspaper. RK

Pronunciations Part 2

On many articles Pronunciations are extremely, IMO, wacked up with "scientific" transliterations. Wikipedia is not the Scientific Weekly, or a Hardvard Research project. 90% of the people reading them would not have any clue as to what they were reason. For example, the Josiah page transliterates my name as "Yošiyyáhu" - why not keep it simple so everyone can understand it - "Yoshiyahu"?--Josiah 02:36, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Well, maybe that can be a third transliteration, as I told you in private message before. But we cannot remove the scientific info; encyclopedias are supposed to educate people who don't know the material, and not simply tell certain visitors what they already know. Vernacular Israeli Hebrew is as valid as Standard Hebrew in this matter. However, we still need to strike a balance between detail and colloquial familiarity. Also, Jdfwolff bought up a very good point before — there are too many transliterations. Even within Israeli Hebrew alone there are often lots of different individually preferred spellings for the same name. Standard Hebrew transliteration is a perfectly equitable compromise, very conservative of its spelling detail. (Tiberian Hebrew aside from this particular issue; Tiberian is the second name listed in each entry anyway.) Also, I have found that when I use simplified non-standard spellings, they are disputed by scientist editors. And I respect science and standards (both old and new), so I have yielded to its application. - Gilgamesh 03:13, 18 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In front of me is a small Hebrew & English Diciontary by Dr. Reuven Sivan and Dr. Edward A. Levenston, New York: Bantom 1975. It is mostly modern Hebrew with Tiberian pointing. The English preface states:

The Hebrew column in both parts of the dictionary is given in plene spelling, in accordance with the latest rules of the Hebrew Language Academy. All the relevant additional letters yod and vav have been inserted so that the user cann identify the word in the form in which he will encounter it in all modern books and newspapers. On the other hand the full and precise pointing has been aded (except for the silent sh'va) thus ensuring the precise pronunciation of each word.

Other dictionaries are similar. Tiberian pointing is hardly dead and is still the standard way to indicate vowel pronunciation as well as appearing in almost all reader versions of the Tanakh. Of course one could use pointed Hebrew in the Wikipedia, except that the average Hebrew fonts available to many don't add proper pointing. Also transliteration has its benefits. Probably no reader is equally fluent in every alphabet, abjad, syllabary and logographic system for every language. It is useful to enter names and words in the original characters of a non-Latin script for those who can read them (as transliterations are sometimes not dependable for fine details and because the words in the original characters can be copied and pasted into search engines for searches using the characters of the original scripts). But if I'm talking about linguistics between languages or just want to present a foreign word then I am far better off and most readers are far better off if I use Latin-letter transliterations which don't depend on a reader knowing three different Indic writing systems, the Ethiopic syllabary, Hebrew writing, paleo-Hebrew writing, Ugaritic cuneiform and Persian cuneiform, Linear B and so forth.
It also helps if the transliteration system used is a standard one, widely employed, and complete enough that those who do know any of the source character sets can translate the form back into the source character set with accuracy 99% of the time. Accuracy is more important than simplicity when simplicty doesn't fully represent the original spelling.
The scholarly systems of transliteration used for Semitic languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac and so forth do allow someone who knows only one or two of the languages being discussed to follow a linguistic discussion. Their fullness and their conservative nature means that one familiar with them and familiar with a modern dialect of the language can usually correctly guess the pronunication of the word in the modern dialect. They are used in slightly varying versions in almost all journals and books coverning Semitic languages, in dictionaries and grammars of Classical Hebrew, and in almost all Biblical commentaries (whether written by Jews, Christians, or atheists or anyone else).
You can mostly get modern Sephardic, Ashkenazic and Yemanite pronunciation out of Masoretic Hebrew and out of a full Latin letter transliteration of Masoretic Hebrew by ignoring certain sounds and making certain regular changes. You can't do this well with a modern transliteration with ignores the differences between letters which in Hebrew are distinct. And you can't properly compare cognate forms in other Semitic languages, living or dead.
To some degree the modern semi-standard transliterations of Hebrew are kludges intended for typewriter use or ASCII use when better means are unavailable. Unicode is making better means available. Fonts, many of them free, are listed at sites like Unicode fonts for Windows computers (most of them also usable on Macintosh and Un*x machines). On the Macintosh, if a requested character is not in the current font, the system will search through the fonts (trying to do so first in those closest in style to the current font) until it finds the character and will then display it. Such a character will probably to some degree mismatch in style with the surrounding characters, but at least the character will be there. The Mozillia web browser and Mozilla-based browsers like Netscape do the same searching under Windows and under Un*x systems. The browsers are free. There is no reason why anyone who cares about special characters shouldn't be able to see them. And systems and readily available fonts are improving in this area to the point that I expect that within about two years it will be a very small percentage of viewers who don't see automatically see all characters used in standard Semitic Latin-letter transliteration. I would expect fully pointed Hebrew could also be used in Wikipedia with similar expectation that most users will see it correctly and that almost anyone who cares can configure their system to see pointed Hebrew correctly.
Unfortunately such transliterations are still not unambiguous. From Yôšiyyāhû alone one would not know that the second consonant of the name is alef rather than vav. One could transcribe Yōʾšiyyāhû to make this clear, but that would obscure the fact that the Masoretes indicated that the alef was quiescent in their pronunciation. Perhaps Yō(ʾ)šiyyāhû? But people don't do that. Parentheses would normally be used only to indicate that a letter was sometimes included in a form and sometimes missing.
Still, a transcription that distinguishes between all emphatic consonants and the corresponding unempahtic consonants, between bet and vav in all cases, and between alef and `ayin has an advantage. It shows more about the original spelling. It is more accurate.
As to 90% of the people reading such a transliteration not knowing exactly what the various diacritics mean and so forth, that goes for almost all transliterations. Presumably anyone who wants to know more details can look up the information in the Wikipedia under the name of the language or script. I would imagine about 90% of the people who look up information about a certain animal or plant don't understand or appreciate the scientific classification totally, especially when they are not familiar with the part of the animal or plant kingdom to which the entry makes reference. But obviously it must be there for the benefit of those who do understand it or who want to understand it. Similarly there are numerous mathematical articles in the Wikipedia which are probably opaque to 90% of its readers and many more that are partly opaque. One may expect specialist technical information to appear in any article in Wikipedia when it is germane to that article. Those not interested in that information can skip over it.
Technical transliterations generally used by linguistic scholars for any languages are important in the same way that the scientific names of plants are important, to be skimmed over by those not interested but to be used by those who are.
And of the various transliteration systems used for Hebrew, the slightly varying forms of the standard scholarly transliteration system (despite its general inability to handle quiescent consonants distinctly) is the best standard method at representing in Latin Hebrew as it is written with Tiberian pointing, regardless of dialect. The system has been in general use with slight variations for over a century and is used universally in for Semitic languages generally and for Classical Hebrew.
Jallan 07:07, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Oh man... That was just unbelievable. I am speechless. ... Can you be my personal translator? :D (j/k) You make my paragraphs look like complete gibberish. You ooze clarity on impressive levels that I never dream of. ^_^ - Gilgamesh 09:41, 18 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I see mentioned "Israeli Sefardi transliteration" and "Artscroll quasi Ashkenazi transliteration" but I can't seem to find articles on Wikipedia about either of them? Where should I be looking? — Hippietrail 02:01, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The documentary hypothesis

The documentary hypothesis has nothing to do with Christianity; that is a strawman attack used by some Orthodox Jewish writers to delegitimize it within the traditional Jewish community. In fact, most Christians don't accept it at all. Similarly, the modern form of the documentary hypothesis, which has been developed over the last century, does not rely on the early and anti-Jewish ideas of Julius Wellhausen. That too is is a strawman attack used by a few Orthodox writers to delegitimize it within the traditional Jewish community. I don't know of a modern-day single adherent of Wellhausen's specific views. RK 00:25, Jul 20, 2004 (UTC)

  • Who claimed that the Christians invented it? I find the idea absurd.--Josiah 03:26, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

This is how it started, see: Higher Criticism and Radical Criticism: "Higher criticism originally referred to the practice of a group of German Biblical scholars centered in Tübingen, including Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1874), and Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872), who began in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to analyze the historical records of the Middle East from Christian and Old Testament times, in search of independent confirmation of the events related in the Bible. They are the intellectual descendants of John Locke, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Gotthold Lessing, Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Hegel, and the French rationalists." On Wikipedia IZAK 05:22, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

  • It's an outright lie to claim that the first three were Christians, when they all disbelieved the bible, according to their Wikipedia pages. I didn't bother to check up on the other persons.--Josiah 05:36, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

What's with the "outright lie" business? All of them were Christian theologians, were steeped in the Christianity of their present day culture in Germany and had their roots in it. Otherwise why would they be so fanatically and "fundamentally" obsessed with the Bible of all things, they could have pursued hunting or something full time instead no? Why is it important to defend them, by checking on their level of Christain observance, when what they did is indefensible Judaicly speaking? You lack an understanding of how permeated with (the Christian) religion Western society was at that time. IZAK 05:58, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

If you haven't read about them, they were originally Christians - probably because that's how they were raised - but as a result of their research disowned any belief in the Bible. Calling the DH a "Christian Theory" is just as accurate as if an Atheist had studied the Bible, and come to believe it (thus abandoining atheism), and saying that Atheists believed the Bible is true! Why is it important to defend them? Emet! I need say nothing else.--Josiah 22:51, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Izak, you little have idea what you are talking about. You are not discussing historical facts. You are merely repeating Orthodox Jerwish polemics against the documentary hypothesis (DH). You also seem unaware of the many Orthodox Jews who now have come to accept the DH as valid. You need to do some reading on this topic by authors who don't have a religious agenda, but who merely discuss the history of the subject. RK 20:44, Jul 21, 2004 (UTC)

I realize now that it was probably unwise to do all the work to migrate the category name without discussing it, and for this I am sorry. I moved Category:Israel geography to Category:Israel-Palestine Geography when I noticed that many of the entries in the category were places in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. To me, it seemed like a clear-cut task of NPOVing it, and so I went to each article, one by one, and changed the geographical category from "Israel" to "Israel-Palestine", and then moved the category page itself. But now it's appearing that this term — in my experience commonly used in neutral context to refer to the geographical region of Israel and the Palestinian regions — is confusing some people who think that it's trying to imply that Israel-Palestine is a political enetity rather than a geographical one. To this blunder I attribute my autism and lack of theory of mind, things that often get me into trouble without ever seeing it. The only contention I ever predicted was IZAK, which I thought acceptable since he contests virtually everything. What really surprised me was contention from Nyh, with very reasonable arguments. And now...well, my act of rational centrist NPOV seems to have developed into a logistical fiasco, and I have only my shortcomings of consideration to blame. IZAK's category did need to be NPOVed, but I feel I may have made an error in trying to do so, though it seemed perfectly logical at the time. I'd like to request help and discussion in ways the category can be adequately NPOVed in respect to the messy political issues regarding Israel and Palestine issues. I plunged head first into an edit spree, and I'm not sure how to clean this up properly. - Gilgamesh 13:48, 22 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Gilgamesh, what I suggest is that you look at all the entries with Arab sounding names carefully, and if they belong with Category:Palestine then put in an additional category link to Category:Palestine at the bottom of that page. Category:Israel geography was meant to include areas assocaited with the geography of Israel (and not the politics) in a general sense. In fact, some would make a case that Palestine can be encompassed by Israel, and of course if Palestine advocates want to insert categories they should do so too, but there was no need to mesh the two as you did and create an "entity" that does not exist in reality. Can we get one of our admins to UNLINK and revert your redirect of the Category:Israel geography that you had directed to Category:Israel-Palestine Geography as a start, then I will take time to insert Category:Israel geography into the 140+ entries (again). Category:Israel-Palestine Geography should be emptied and not used at all at the present time for obvious reasons. IZAK 18:10, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • Ok, I am now working my way through it and it looks like I will be able to sort things out. By the way, recently, someone had created a category Category:Palestinian Cities, so that should be a category to consider placing on pages that the may have some connection with the Arab Palestinians. IZAK 18:51, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Fine, you move the category back, and I won't "destroy" it. (And I destroyed nothing in the first place.) I probably made a mistake with the name change anyway; I only did what I thought would avoid arguments, not start them, and I happened to be wrong this time. But you still have to appreciate the POV challenges that may arrise from it. I make NPOV edits out of compassionate secularism and political neutrality, two central principles of Wikipedia. I don't ever want to hear you say such ugly obscene slurs again. - Gilgamesh 02:19, 23 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]
at least this time he isn't calling you a murderer.--Josiah 02:46, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

You fellows must be having bad hair days, what can I say. Gilgamesh I will work it out, no problem. And as for Josiah, your silliness again reveals that you have nothing of substance to say and just resort to crazy misunderstandings of things that were never meant nor said. Get a life and do some real work on Wikipedia, and stop "shadowing" and waiting to pounce when I am not even addressing you, and stop parroting and echoing negative things that are said. IZAK 05:53, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I'll try to avoid decision-making in Israel-Palestine naming issues. You must realize I intended absolutely no offense by it. If someone is always going to dispute "Israel", and someone is always going to dispute "Palestine" and "Palestinian territories", and apparently people are also going to dispute "Israel-Palestine", and alternative names like "Canaan", "Levant", "Holy Land", etc., then what the heck does one call the geographical region in NPOV fashion? If "Israel-Palestine" is not an option, then what on earth is? I can't think of a more neutral and compromising term than that. - Gilgamesh 06:43, 23 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gilagamesh, don't think in terms of ancient history, you must realize that due to the current conflict some may want to enter into emotional disputations that have no place within the framework that Israel is a sovereign and independent country and that places (towns, cities etc) that are either within its boders or points that border on it must be listed as Category:Israel geography which is accurate and is NPOV. If there are some legitimate disputes based on reason and not on terror, then some boderline places can have Category:Palestinian Cities or simply Category:Palestine placed at the bottom of the relevant page/s. Having now gone and checked each article carefully I have delisted some places that have become purely Palestinian controlled, and where there is some known doubt (as based on the political situation) placed them in, or added to their pages, Category:Palestine so as to be as NPOV about it as possible. You must always remember that even though Israel and the Palestinian Arabs share some territory, yet they remain two opposite and hostile entities that one cannot just "redefine" by creating "categories" that simply reflect wishfull thinking and not anything that is real in the world as it is, or as it is known to be. IZAK 09:49, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)


See related discussions at:

New article

Yet somehow, Gilgamesh cannot let go of this subject and insists on creating an article in Wikipedia on the subject : Israel-Palestine. IZAK 10:47, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

How ridiculous to contest such an article. There are 382000 Google results for "Israel-Palestine"! It is a term, not an endorsement! Do you enjoy making life difficult? My patience is thin, and my Wikistress is at level 4. You are seeing the approaching end limits of my diplomacy. - Gilgamesh 11:13, 23 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hebrew WikiSource

I wanted to let people know that I am currently inverstigating and learning about a possibility that might be useful to many of us: Setting up a Hebrew WikiSource. I've announced it on the Hebrew Wikipedia as well. Those interested in working together on this, please contact me.Dovi 09:03, Jul 23, 2004 (UTC)

Hebrew Text

In my attempt to learn about setting up a Hebrew Wikisource, I learned some things that may be useful here. Specifically, there may be a legitimate need in certain articles to present a limited amount of Hebrew text. (This should not be overused - it could also get messy in a similar way to what we've already seen with overuse of transliteration - but it certain contexts it is justified, as are the various transliterations.)

Here is what I learned: To add Hebrew text in a LTR environment such as this English Wikipedia, and to make sure that paragraph formatting and punctuation appear correctly (as in a RTL environment), use the following code: <div dir="rtl"></div>.

For instance:

מאימתי קורין את שמע בערבין? משעה שהכוהנים נכנסין לאכול בתרומתן, עד סוף האשמורת הראשונה - דברי רבי אליעזר. וחכמים אומרין: עד חצות. רבן גמליאל אומר: עד שיעלה עמוד השחר.

(the first Mishnah in Berakhot). The typing is not so easy to do within the edit box in a LTR environment, which is why a Hebrew wikisource in its own domain (just like the Hebrew Wikipedia) would be preferable. Anyone who is interested in setting that up can let me know.Dovi 03:46, Jul 26, 2004 (UTC)

  • Do we need to put the div tags with existing Hebrew writing in the English articles?--Josiah 17:43, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)

You only need the div tags to accomplish the kind of function called "format paragraph" in your word-processor, when you want the paragraph formatted RTL or LTR. In you placed just a word or two of Hebrew within an English paragraph you don't use this, because you want the paragraph formatted LTR. But if you include Hebrew text as a separate paragraph, as in my example above, then you want it formatted RTL and you need the div tag.Dovi 03:53, Jul 30, 2004 (UTC)

Dealing with instances of anti-Semitism

I wrote a new section in the main project page about how we should deal with anti-Semitism on Wikipedia. Jfdwolff noted that it may be outside the scope of this Wikiproject, so did Jayjg. Ok, if so, then where would it be appropriate? RK 15:04, Jul 28, 2004 (UTC)

Jayjg further writes "Actually it deals with alleged anti-semitism, which is both technically and actually outside of the scope of this project. I recommend it be removed from here. "

As far as I can tell, the examples given were clear forms of anti-Semitism. Holocaust denial (aka pseudo-historical revisionism) is understood as anti-Semitic by scholars on the subject, and is instantly recognized as such by all Jewish organizations. The same is true for presenting Richard Wagner's virulently anti-Semitic statements as somehow not being anti-Semitic. The position of the Anti-Defamation League on anti-Semitic quote mining and quote forgeries by is also commonly recognized as anti-Semitic by the mainstream Jewish community, and by all scholars of anti-Semitism who have written on the subject. RK
Holocaust Denial is indeed antisemitic, and presenting Wagner's statements as non-antisemitic may well be, depending on the statements and context. However, I haven't seen the actual debates/revert wars themselves, so I can't tell if they match your perceptions of them. I must caution, however, against crying anti-Semitism in cases where it may not be warranted; this only makes it more difficult to gain support when true cases of anti-Semitism appear. Moreover, the use of the label tends to muddy the waters in any debate, so that the opponents end up debating the accusation itself rather than the substance of the article. In the worst case, those making the accusation (and any supporting their position) are seen as overly sensitive and lacking credibility, and makes further attempts to NPOV articles impractical. The accusation of anti-Semite should be used extremely sparingly, if at all, since it rarely provides any practical benefit. Jayjg 16:46, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I'm copying some of this to the project page. Jayjg 16:59, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I am in agreement with your points. However, I believe that I have been misunderstood. Nowhere did I write that we should get together and attack someone as being an anti-Semite. What good what that do? Rather, I was talking about something different: Sometimes anti-Semitic edits occur, so the practical question is this: How do we respond, and restore Wikipedia articles to a factual and NPOV status free of anti-Semtism (and free of any other form of bigotry). Step one is to recognize the most common forms of bias, and I noted cases that have occured on literally hundreds of websites. Step two is to mention what we view is a problem on the article's Talk page, and step three is to replace bigoted text and/or racist sterotypes with the high quality factual and NPOV material that should be in Wikipedia articles. RK

My issue is with accusations of anti-Semitism; I have seen plenty of them, and as I have said, I think they should be used sparingly, if at all. Jayjg 18:55, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Holiday articles that we probably do not need

Shalosh regalim (The three pilgrimage festivals)

We don't need an article on this, as there is no such holiday; this is merely a phrase about the three Biblical pilgrimmage festivals, and these festivals already have articles. We could, of course, describe the useage of this phrase in the main article on Jewish holidays, and within each of the three articles on the pilgrimmage festivals. Appearing as an article by itself, however, would only be confusing to the non-Jewish reader. RK

Why not a stub listing the actual festivals in question, and giving the history of the term? Jayjg 16:52, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I don't follow you; please clarify. (I do not that Wikipedia is not a dictionary; we do not have entries merely giving definitions of words or phrases.) Could you amplify what you are asking for? RK
An article listing the three festivals, describing what they have in common, how they were treated in Biblical times (people making pilgrimages to Jerusalem) etc. Jayjg 02:23, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Ok. RK

Chol Hamoed (The "Intermediate days")

We don't need an article on this, as there is no such holiday; these are merely specific days within other holdiays, Sukkot and Pesach. These festivals already have articles. We could, of course, describe chol hamoed in the main article on Jewish holidays, and within each of the articles where it applies. Appearing as an article by itself, however, would only be confusing to the non-Jewish reader. RK

Chol HaMoed is indeed a unique festival period in Judaism, with its own special laws which differ from both holiday laws and weekday laws. I haven't seen the article, but I think the topic itself deserves its own article. Jayjg 16:52, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Uh, no, not in Orthodox Judaism at any rate. In traditional and modern works on Jewish law, chol Hamoed Pesach is considered part of Pesach, and it is discussed as part of the holiday. Same for Sukkot. In any case, this would badly confuse non-Jewish readers, who are the majority of Wikipedia readers. RK
Chol HaMoed of both Pesach and Sukkot are unique festival times, which have certain rules, laws, restrictions, etc. in common which differ from both the Yom Tov rules and the weekday rules. As such, they deserve their own article. As for "confusing non-Jewish readers", the articles should educate them. Jayjg 02:23, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Fine by me. RK

Fast of the First Born (Ta'anit Bechorim)
Acharon shel Pesach (Last days of Passover)

We should not have a separate article on every single aspect of Pesach (Passover.) These are just specific days within Pesach, which already has as article. We should, of course, describe these days within the Pesach article. Appearing as an article by itself, however, would only be confusing to the non-Jewish reader. RK

I don't see a problem in giving each Jewish fast day its own small article. The Fast of the First Born is not one of the days of Pesach, but is a Fast that precedes it. Similarly, the Fast of Gedaliah is not a part of Rosh Hashana, but a fast which follows it. The fast days in general could be bound together by a larger article listing all the Jewish fast days, or perhaps just the minor fast days. Jayjg 16:52, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Ok by me. RK

New Electronic Resource on Jewish Thought

I just wanted to point out a new resource available on Jewish Thought that may be a valuable aid to some of our articles in that area. Go to [2] where there are some very fine e-lectures (which will hopefully be added to in the future, it seems).Dovi 03:20, Jul 30, 2004 (UTC)

Source material

Would it be a good idea to reference the traditional source material where appropriate, or would this depart from encyclopedia norm? Additionally, if appropriate might we standardise a template?


Pages to work on: Discussion

Balaam - I've stumbled on this yesterday and it needs a LOT of work. I've started by adding headings and removing an anti-Rabbinic reference. What should be done about the article? It intertwines documentary hypothesis, the Torah narrative, a strong Christian POV etc. I think this needs to be separated. Frikle 00:57, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I think your edit was needed, but we don't need to create seperate pages for each view on this one. The article simply isn't long enough.--Josiah 18:32, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant separated into different headings in the same article - for eg Jewish, Christian and secular-scholarship views. Frikle 00:51, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I see what you mean. I just took a stab at fixing this. I improved the section on the DH and removed some of the critical scholarship out of the main story summary, I removed some of the Christian bias; we can and should instead ad such views in the section on New Testament and Christian views; I removed the useless section on rabbinic lit., and replaced it with a more comprehensive section from the 1906 public domain Jewish Encyclopedia. RK 14:20, Jul 30, 2004 (UTC)

A serious challenge from User Gilgamesh on Hebrew language

See User talk:Gilgamesh: "Invitation for Hebrew linguistics project participation" for the following: Wikipedia:WikiProject Judaism is trying to decide all Hebrew linguistics issues for Wikipedia by themselves. But Hebrew is not purely the realm of Judaism; it is also the realm of Samaritans, Christians and Abrahamic religion as a whole, and also secular Canaanite languages studies. I'm trying to challenge mono-cultural mono-sectarian dominance over a linguistic field that we all should be sharing together. I invite you to participate in trying to pluralize Hebrew language conventions for Wikipedia. In particular, not only is Tiberian Hebrew transliteration challenged, but also Standard Hebrew transliteration, as some people want to use only Israeli Hebrew colloquial transliteration or Ashkenazi Hebrew liturgical transliteration. I think these are perfectly valid and worthy of participation, but not at the total expense of every other Hebrew linguistics study concern. Please support a multi-religious multi-cultural scientific NPOV mandate for studying Hebrew linguistics on Wikipedia. - Gilgamesh 03:00, 18 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the invitation, I would be happy to participate. I was just thinking last night that we need something like this. Where do I sign up?Zestauferov 05:32, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Well, that I don't know. I've never started a new Wikipedia Project group. I just know that this appropriately needs to be a secular pluralistic project for it to have NPOV legitimacy. - Gilgamesh 05:38, 18 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah, so? That was actually more of an argument between Yoshiah_ap and I. That argument has been largely put to rest. Surprise, IZAK wasn't involved. :P - Gilgamesh 09:15, 22 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

At the risk of stepping into another minefield, may I suggest that we tone down the rhetoric? It seems to me that the problem is not really as great as you describe it, and that all the options are legitimate.

The people who are tossing around suggestions for Israeli or Ashkenazi transliteration are mostly concerned about being both useful and user-friendly on articles about Judaism and Jews, especially in the relevant context of a living tradition among a live community and nation. I think that is a legitimate concern (though it should be argued respectfully). These people are not much concerned with historical linguistics, nor with the relevance that Hebrew may have to others in different fields, and that is also OK. Instead of being so dogmatic, I suggest allowing Hebrew to be transliterated based upon the context of the article in question. General guidelines wouldn't hurt, as long as they remain suggestions and not laws. Articles specific to Jews and Judaism may need a different style of transliteration that an article on the Samaritan Torah or Christian Bible study. It is wonderful that WP is built to allow this kind of pluralism, so let's take advantage of it instead of arguing about it.

So I think an additional Hebrew linguistics project would be wonderful, and I want to sign up! (I personally have an interest in both areas. I just hope I'll have time for all of this.)

PS: Gilgamesh, pluralism isn't only a secular concept. In fact, if it's only secular, it's not pluralistic :-)

Dovi 14:07, Jul 22, 2004 (UTC)

Alright, I can work with all that. :) And as I said, it was largely a dispute between Yoshiah_ap and I, who said that this project would have the final say on all Hebrew linguistics conventions, when I thought it would more appropriately be a linguistics project field shared with other appropriate projects such as this one. And, also as I said, the issue was largely put to rest. But if it becomes an issue again, I wouldn't mind participating in a new Hebrew linguistics WikiProject. It wouldn't yank Hebrew issues from this project; I see such concepts as overlapping considerably and should always cooperate on an interproject basis. Oh, and I realize now that "secular pluralism" may not have been the best term; I meant "secular" more in the terms of multiple viewpoints coming together to work towards a common neutral goal; and in the case of Wikipedia, that happens to be secular concensus for the sciences involved. - Gilgamesh 13:32, 27 July 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New serious changes by Gilgamesh: Hebrew letters written as "Canaanite"

In the past few days, User:Gilgamesh inserted some confusing information (changing guidelines he agreed to about only two "types" of Hebrew), by adding "Caananite" to Hebrew names in articles such as:

This leaves the reader with the perculiar impression, that "Hebrew" letters are "Canaanite" whereas Hebrew as it is known to almost everyone TODAY is written in that bizarre "Latin" font. Why do these Hebrew-associated articles have to be so bombarded with User:Gilgamesh's innundations of multiple (up to four!) examples of the words? Would this be tolerated in Wikipedia English articles were they to be started with the different "American", "British", "Australian", and "Latin", or "Old English", pronounciations? Obviously NOT, so why do Hebrew words have to be explained in: "Canaanite"; TWO forms of "Hebrew"; "Arabic"; and now even "Latin"?! (Does the Arab version on Wikipedia also carry "Hebrew", "Latin", and "Canaanite"??? Do Latin words list "Hebrew" translations etc ad nauseam?) What is the purpose of all this visual clutter? Is it meant to confuse the exact meanings of SINGLE Hebrew word/s when it should be called "Hebrew" which it is, and not "Canaanite" which no-one has a clue what that is. One Hebrew word would be quite sufficient without four other linguistic variations, and NOT "Canaanite" since the "Canaanites - are defunct. Should articles be focused on linguistics or getting the basic information across? IZAK 07:45, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  1. The script is called "Canaanite" because it is Canaanite alphabet for Canaanite languages. Those being: Israelite Hebrew, Ammonite, Moabite, Edomite, and Phoenician, and there have been challenges as to whether they can be considered separate languages at all. So, to avoid scientific controversy (being the key here), I use "Canaanite" instead of "Hebrew" when it comes to linguistics and alphabet, because the Hebrew alphabet is just one variety of the Canaanite alphabet. Linguistically speaking, of course. I use Hebrew letters because they are readily available in Unicode, whereas fonts do not as easily display Phoenician writing, Samaritan writing, etc.
  2. We've had the argument over "what Canaanite is" before. You're the only who keeps repeating himself saying "no one knows what it is" despite the piling refutations that so many other people have been saying in response to you.
  3. The basic information provided here is relevant to the linguistics, history and politics of the name. This is to dampen complaints about preferential treatment of certain names against other names, as well as to provide useful linguistic and historical information in a brief concise manner for researchers.
    1. Linguistically, there have been Canaanite, Arabic and Latin forms of relevant mention, because Wikipedia has no preferences for relevant language.
    2. Historically, Ashqelon and Jaffa have had Latin, Arab and Jewish histories, because Wikipedia has no preferences for historical periods.
    3. Politically, Hebrew and Arabic names (and, if necessarily, Greek and Latin names) for places both in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority and other areas of the Levant — as well as places of religious importance to various interests — are listed, because Wikipedia does not have religious preferences.
I have far better and certainly more productive things to be doing than to be arguing with you over this. Return with new challenges, not reconstitutions of old arguments we've already visited and laid to rest repeatedly. I advise you to study the scientific materials before you try griping. Otherwise, next time I may simply ignore you, as the The Boy Who Cried Wolf was ignored. - Gilgamesh 08:32, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I have addressed the language of the headers, and decided to change the wording to be clearer to someone unscientific as yourself. I have changed Canaanite to Hebrew alphabet. It is a Canaanite alphabet (as the Hebrews adopted the Canaanite language while in Canaan), and identical or near-identical spellings are used for same names in other ancient Canaanite languages, but this rewording will have to suffice in its place. - Gilgamesh 08:46, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I am not the one who is "playing around" with the definitions and names of Hebrew, as for example, you have now taken the above, and made it into something new yet again, reaching into the bag of linguistic names that academics never tire of inventing as they go along (today it's one thing, and next year another) (What's the next "surprize" gonna be? Aramaic words cause it's a cousin language too?): Ashqelon or Ashkelon (Hebrew alphabet אשקלון, Standard Hebrew Ašqəlon, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAšqəlôn; Arabic عسقلان ʿAsqalān; Latin Ascalon Jaffa, Israel (Hebrew alphabet יפו, Standard Hebrew Yafo, Tiberian Hebrew Yāp̄ô; Arabic يافا Yāfā; also Japho, Joppa)

Your "assertion" that "It is a Canaanite alphabet (as the Hebrews adopted the Canaanite language while in Canaan).." is not accepted by everyone, certainly not by traditionalist Bible scholars, and their views have as much right to be represented here as any other group's, and is no less "scientific" as all of this stuff relates to things that took place thousands of years ago and cannot be "measured" in a lab as one would do working with chemicals!

You are furthermore making a serious error by interpreting Wikipedia's inherent openess and inclusiveness as a "license" to flood a Wikipedia article with all sorts of TANGENTIAL nonsensical information that does NOT help the reader learn anything. You could do the same to all English language Wikipedia articles by adding five alternates to each word from each of the following (take your pick) and dwelling on the fact that first there was the Old English language (I'm not sure what came before it? Hominids who spoke in Cave-man grunts? Does that deserve mention too?) that came from the Germanic language and was related to the Old Norse language and lived side by side with the Celtic languages which then became Middle English when it encountered the Norman language or Langue d'oïl which is one of the Romance languages of the Italic languages which was influenced by the Greek language when it became an Anglo-Norman language enriched by Classical Latin.....etc etc etc ad nauseam to become just plain old ENGLISH...and now take your pick from: American English, Australian English, British English, Canadian English, Caribbean English, Hiberno-English, Indian English, Middle English, Modern English, Old English, Pakistani English  !!!! Phew, what a work-out...why would anyone want to put a reader through all of that I ask you unless they were looking to major in Linguistics?

You see we would never dream of doing such a foolish thing as it would CONFUSE the reader. So, when someone is reading the Hebrew name of a town in present-day Israel, such as Ashkelon or Jaffa / Yafo), the reader should NOT be subjected to a torturous and silly "academic exercise" (and that is being charitable) of confusing words that allude to histories/opinions/interpretations/political opposites/pseudo-scientific/and just plain old ridiculous verbiage that not only does NOT help describe and explain the subject, but instead induces in the reader a desire to "flip to the next page because this page is too confusing" as it tries to throw in everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink just because Wikipedia is a nice and tolerant place. Come on now, how about a little practical common sense? IZAK 09:28, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

People who don't understand the details are supposed to "flip the page", by skipping to past the end brace to resume reading article content. And yes, I have added multiple local standards of English in certain articles when they become relevant (primarily Hawai‘i-related articles). My responsibility is to add detail — it does not concern me if the detail is not well understood by the lay person, as they are free to skip it and read what's next. If, in the process, they experience a sense of confusion before skipping the passage, then so be it. I do whatever I feel is necessary to add as much useful detail as possible to Wikipedia articles; I also try to structure it. I want doctorate professors to be able to browse these articles and learn something new for themselves. I do not accept the deletion of relevant detail, but the detail can be organized to make it more browsable. Wikipedia is here to expand intelligence. If we were to give in to complains that Wikipedia is insulting personal intelligence or confusing someone with more detail than they were looking for, then we might as well burn the entire encyclopedia here and now so that the less intelligent could not be made uncomfortable with unfamiliar detail nor detail they have not learned how to interpret. (next paragraph)
I agree with IZAK here; calling Hebrew letters "Canaanite" is silly and irrelevant pseudo-intellectualism at best. Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia for academics; on the contrary, its charter is to produce an encyclopedia which ignores the bias of "known experts" in favor of the collaborative efforts of thousands of more "ordinary" people. It is not intended as an elitist exercise in impenetrable academic-speak; there are plenty of journals for that, each catering to the specialized lingo of the few thousand people who make a living writing to each other about that topic. Academics will never refer to Wikipedia, which is fine; regular people will, and it should be written to be comprehensible, useable, and informative for them. Jayjg 17:04, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)
BTW, IZAK, you keep complaining about indisplayable characters — I suggest you edit User:IZAK/monobook.css (using Cascading Style Sheets code) to make your browsing experience easier for yourself. I personally do not concern myself with Wikipedia's internal choice of CSS — I provide correct Unicode encoding, and it is none of my concern if, for whatever reason, it is not viewable in an end user's browser. Then you can discuss the Unicode characters themselves rather than repeatedly complaining that they are there, because I'm not going to get rid of them nor allow them to be deleted nor "fixed" to Arial typeface displayability. I prefer Wikipedia to fix its default CSS, rather than "fixing" Unicode to constrain to one specific typeface. - Gilgamesh 10:16, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)
IZAK, after much thought, I have this to say. I do not want to get into conflicts with you. I do not want to do anything to hurt or hinder Jewish interests on Wikipedia. With so much modern violence and anti-Semitism categorically against Jews in the modern world, it seems counterproductive to pick so many fights with someone who looks at you as a brother both literally and figuratively, albeit one who quarrels a lot. If you have concerns, then I encourage you to come to me with them with courtesy and politeness, and a respect for my place as an editor, as I would also wish to respect your place as an editor. Then we can quietly and calmly discuss the issues and controversies, and how they can be straightened out. I would truly prefer this method of discussing things with you; launching angry edit sweeps and accusations and's incredibly caustic, and it doesn't help you, nor does it help me, nor does it help the content. I am not the ultimate authority on all things, and neither are you. I do not pretend that I am, and's bad to fool yourself into thinking that you are. My analogy to The Boy Who Cried Wolf comes because when you do nothing but attack and accuse, you develop a reputation of an attacker and an accuser, and stress levels go up, and eventually, people only read your posts as long angry "grrr grrg grrrrrrr grrrrr BARK! BARK!", and you lose a little bit more of any reputation you could have had for useful diplomacy as a useful co-editor. Eventually, you really are ignored — or worse — reported for trolling. Don't allow yourself to appear as a troll, since you are not a troll if you decide not to be one. I wrote this post out of hope for your benefit, and I hope it is helpful and beneficial to you now and in the future. - Gilgamesh 12:40, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

To Gilgamesh: As far as the first part of your comments above, I shall always try to keep calm and open lines of communication with you going. However, as for the substance of this debate, it's not "trolling" when I point out that it is YOU that has been making arbitrary changes in very delicate areas that are always "strewn with mines" such as when you changed "Category:Israel geography" into "Category Israel-Palestine Geography", or insisting that Hebrew must be purely a "Canaanite" language when in fact those who adhere to a more classical Biblical interpretation, and also have their equal rights to be represented by an acceptable NPOV here, do not share this view, and your recent attempt to call Hebrew alphabet letters "Canaanite" in the Ahkelon and Jaffa articles. These are issues concerning Hebrew, a well-established classical language as well as being one that is spoken primarily by millions of Jews today, that you seem to feel you can change with the "flip of an article" on Wikipedia. One could perhaps have used this group here at Wikipedia:WikiProject Judaism with people who probably know something about the subject as well, as a resource, but, no, in your eyes, this group is also a big problem. Instead, earlier, you went so far as to attack this group (and I repeat what you wrote because of its seriousness): "Wikipedia:WikiProject Judaism is trying to decide all Hebrew linguistics issues for Wikipedia by themselves. But Hebrew is not purely the realm of Judaism; it is also the realm of Samaritans, Christians and Abrahamic religion as a whole, and also secular Canaanite languages studies. I'm trying to challenge mono-cultural mono-sectarian dominance over a linguistic field that we all should be sharing together. I invite you to participate in trying to pluralize Hebrew language conventions for Wikipedia. In particular, not only is Tiberian Hebrew transliteration challenged, but also Standard Hebrew transliteration, as some people want to use only Israeli Hebrew colloquial transliteration or Ashkenazi Hebrew liturgical transliteration. I think these are perfectly valid and worthy of participation, but not at the total expense of every other Hebrew linguistics study concern. Please support a multi-religious multi-cultural scientific NPOV mandate for studying Hebrew linguistics on Wikipedia. -Gilgamesh 03:00, 18 July 2004 (UTC)." As for your other comments about me personally I will not get into a shouting match, since we are trying to be polite right? But I will say that, yes, I do tend to write clearly and respond unambiguously to issues and articles that are dear to my heart from the Category:Jews and Judaism, and if what you hear is the "barking of a hound" then maybe I am either being a good "watch-dog" or you need to adjust your antenna and get the true drift of my written words which I tend not to cloud up with academic jargon even though I hold three secular academic degrees in my own specialty of world history (but that is another subject.) IZAK 04:15, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You are absolutely unbelievable... Absolutely unbelievable. I am appauled...
As I said, the other category name changes and use of "Canaanite" were mistakes I apologized for and bowed out of. And the dispute over jurisdiction of Hebrew language issues on Wikipedia was a dispute between Yoshiah_ap and I (and I must say that he made me pretty angry at the time), and I was encouraged to participate in the debate. So, I made an announcement asking for input, and input we got, and the subject was largely laid to waste. I have never said that this group is a problem, but I had to make it clear that this group could not have a 100% monopoly over Hebrew linguistic issues. I wanted to promote pluralist involvement in Hebrew issues, and we ended up getting a lot of that (including the participation of knowledge pools from Zestauferov, Jallan and Mustafaa), more or less solving the issue for the time being.
I kindly ask you to stop hitting me over the head with it. I'm sick of being accused by you of grandiose crusades to destroy content or destroy Jewish issues; such accusations have to be the most nauseating and ridiculous (not to mention offensive) things directed at me, as I have worked very hard for a long time to promote constructive information about beloved Israelite groups including Jews and Samaritans. And I'm sick of you bringing up already-visited arguments again and again and again — is this some sort of zealous attrition on your part? This is a rancorous cycle that must cease NOW. - Gilgamesh 04:46, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I must agree with IZAK - I think it's safe to assume most English speakers can't read Hebrew/Arabic letters anyway, so this stuff is mostly a bunch of gibberish. And what the hell is "Tiberian Hebrew"? What does it matter how something was spelled in every random dialect of Hebrew? Especially since they are always exactly the same except for diacritics! (I won't repeat all of IZAK's other objections, but I share them as well). Adam Bishop 16:47, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I always find Hebrew and Arabic details useful in articles. Much of the time when I'm browsing Wikipedia, linguistic information is part of what I'm looking for. If details like this are permitted for linguistic details such as Japanese, Classical Latin, etc., then why not the relevant Crusader, Arab and Israeli histories of Ashqelon? It's unfair to call it "gibberish" — it is extra information that a less-educated reader doesn't understand, and that's okay, because they can skip over it. And as for Tiberian Hebrew and Standard Hebrew, they are actual standards, and not simply dialects. Tiberian Hebrew is the transliteration of the phonological details of the Masoretic Text (and the Tiberian Vowel Pointing System, also known as niqqudot). Standard Hebrew is the secular standard drafted by Eliezer ben-Yehuda. The two standards have different scope: Tiberian is old (from the Middle Ages) and religious and highly-detailed, making it very valuable for historical linguistic research; Standard is new and secular and much less-detailed, but is important as the Israeli standard. Also, that part of the world is still highly disputed in different ways by hundreds of millions of people, so it only makes sense to calm anxieties by adding Hebrew and Arabic linguistic detail for every place in Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and nearby places (such as Damascus) of religious significance. "Ascalon" was the Latin name of Ashqelon during the Crusader States, and "Japho" and "Joppa" are names of Jaffa used in the KJV Bible, the main translation of the Bible in English. Every bit of detail has its important (and helpful!) place, and is not "gobbledygook". And as I said before, to be clearer, I already changed "Canaanite" to "Hebrew alphabet" to make it clear what I meant. I conceed now that "Canaanite" was a poor choice of words, but it was not an act of obfuscation nor malice — to be truthful, it simply did not occur to me that it would be confusing. By the way, didn't we already have this discussion before? Jallan gave a long and firmly commanding lecture as to the importance and significance of Tiberian Hebrew. - Gilgamesh 03:34, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

To Gilgamesh: When you say: "Also, that part of the world is still highly disputed in different ways by hundreds of millions of people, so it only makes sense to calm anxieties by adding Hebrew and Arabic linguistic detail for every place in Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and nearby places (such as Damascus) of religious significance." "Calm anxieties"??? By adding Arab names to Israeli cities? Who exactly is getting "anxious" here? As far as is known, Israel is a legitimate democratic country. It is being "disputed" by suicide bombers and dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia and Libya. So it makes me very "worried". Which "hundreds of millions" of people are you talking about? Are you saying that you, Gilgamesh, have set yourself up as a "judge" of the Arab-Israeli struggle? So let me ask you, to prove your even-handedness are you also editing any article about Arab countries in Category:Arab and inserting Jewish and Hebrew words and letters IN HEBREW of places and people in all the articles of Arab countries since MILLIONS of Jews lived in those countries and their cities for thousands of years? In fact, the source of the Arabic language is Hebrew itself according to some scholars (Maimonides). It seems that it is only this area of Jews, Judaism, Bible and Hebrew that is getting this unfair one-sided POV splatterings of names in multiple languages in three forms of Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, (no Greek yet, but it could always be squeezed in) because YOU want to "calm anxieties". Tell that to the marines. IZAK 04:42, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

New "twist and turn" as "Hebrew alphabet" is switched to "Hebrew languages"

To Gilgamesh: Just when one thinks there was perhaps some clarity settling in, as when recent articles on Jaffa, Israel and Ashqelon were switched from (newly introduced) Canaanite languages to the VERY CLEAR Hebrew alphabet for the given Hebrew lettering, now it is being switched yet again to the once again confusing definition of Hebrew languages and on that page take your pick from Ammonite language, Moabite language, Edomite language, Biblical Hebrew language, Samaritan Hebrew language, Mishnaic Hebrew language, Tiberian Hebrew language, Mizrahi Hebrew languages, Yemenite Hebrew language, Sephardi Hebrew language, Ashkenazi Hebrew, Modern Hebrew language, all in the name of a "better linguistics convention I had previous used for Jericho" (taken from User:Gilgamesh's changes, as an example, at ). So now what is happening is that the name appears initially in a Wikipedia article, and immediately it comes up in Hebrew LETTERS but instead of the explanatory link going to Hebrew alphabet which lists all the letters clearly and beautifully on one page, rather, the reader is now being sent to Hebrew languages, as if the reader needs to know that once upon a time the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites also "spoke it" which is hypothetical, and that there are at least EIGHT other brands of Hebrew to choose from since then, when in fact ONLY ONE, the common spoken and most used one today would be expected according to all logical and practical assumptions. So far many articles are being subjected to this unfortunate regimen, such as Haifa, Beersheba, Jaffa, Israel, Ashqelon, Ramla. IZAK 05:25, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

IZAK. You're totally impossible. You may have experience in religious studies, and I respect and appreciate that, as well as your personal religious sensibilities. But it's clear you have zero credibility as a scientist or as a diplomat. You are a reactionary, you are a fearmonger, you are a troll, you are a vandal, and now you are also ignored by me from this point on. Stay out of my hair, as you're not worth wasting time with. I'll invest my time with Yoshiah_ap, Zestauferov, Woggly and other "heretics" instead. - Gilgamesh 06:07, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I see that for all your talk, you would rather revert to name-calling and slander and self-righteousness rather than stick to the points under discussion. All that has happened thus far between us here is that I have been bringing to light the zigs and zags of YOUR editing of Hebrew words as you refuse to remain with one clear definition of a Hebrew word that will be universally understood but instead prefer to introduce confusion rather than clarity. YOU keep on making constant CONTROVERSIAL changes and you accuse me of all sorts of wierd things. What a pity. IZAK 06:26, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)