Double Offering Bowl
Syria or Turkey, early 2nd millennium B.C.E.
- Basalt: ground
- Height: 9 in. (22.9 cm) Diameter: 8 in. (20.3 cm)
- The Jewish Museum, New York
- Gift of A. A. Rosen, 1981-313
- Digital image © 2006 The Jewish Museum, New York Photo by Ardon Bar Hama
Religion, nationality, and identity were closely linked in the ancient Near East. In Iron Age Israel, being Israelite meant living in the land of Israel, sharing a common heritage, and participating in Israelite rituals. Jerusalem was the center of religious and national identity—first for the united kingdom and later for the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Priests offered sacrifices to their god in the Jerusalem Temple on behalf of the people. Worship of other gods was officially prohibited, but individuals were often influenced by other cultures and beliefs—at times borrowing images and symbols from neighboring groups. After the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE, synagogues became local centers for Jewish life, and worship shifted from sacrifice to prayer, study, and public reading of the Torah.