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Staff Spotlight: May
Have you met Noa?
Noa is our Bat Sherut this year at our sifting site in Emek Tzurim National Park, meaning that she is doing her National Service by working with our project. She is a very meticulous and focused sifter, and she is a champion at finding small bits of plaster and other small finds. One of her favorite artifacts that she has found is a very small fragment of a hair comb made of bone that dates to the Second Temple. She said, “it is a very small artifact, but a very valuable one.” Able to identify and teach about the different types of rocks and special stones, as well as other categories of finds, she is a fantastic help at the site and a great guide for all of our English and Hebrew speaking groups.
A selection of bone hair combs found in the sifting at the Temple Mount Sifting Project
Noa is from Na’ale, which is a yishuv near modiin. She decided to do her Sherut Leumi, or National Service, with the Sifting Project because she has always been interested in the past and especially the history of Israel and Jewish culture. When she heard that there was an option to do her National Service at the Sifting Project, she decided to check it out and we are so glad that she did!
A fragment of a stone vessel found in the sifting at the Temple Mount Sifting Project
Before working with the Sifting Project, Noa says that she knew the general history of the Temple Mount, but that now she has studied more intensively about the Temple. For example, she explains that she now knows much more about the different vessels of the Temple, such as those made of stone. Stone vessels were very popular during the Second Temple Period (1st century BCE – 1st century CE) because they don’t get defiled or absorb spiritual impurity.
Noa loves working with our volunteer groups. She specifically has good memories of working with a mechina of olim chadashim (high school age preparatory program for new Israeli citizens) that comes to sift every year. Next year, she plans to work in agriculture and then spend some time traveling. When she returns to Israel, she wants to study Toldot Israel, the history of the ancient Israeli nation, in university.
Stay tuned and get to know us! We will be putting a spotlight on different staff members each month. Leave a comment and share our posts if you had a good experience working with our staff!
It is with sad hearts that we announce that we are losing two of our most valued staff members at the Sifting Project. As of November 1, our site manager Ohad Tal and our office manager Rachel Nachum will be leaving for other employment. Both of them have been with us for the past 2 years.
Ohad has been a true trailblazer in site development, working in cooperation with the National Parks Authority to beautify the site, giving it the feel of a “park” and not just an “archaeological dig”. Also, he created more usable offices and workspaces, which is difficult considering that our “buildings” are two converted shipping containers! And for the convenience of our visitors, he coordinated the installation of new restrooms (with flush toilets!) to replace our previous portable johns. All of these projects have given the site a more inviting atmosphere for the visitors and volunteers who come to help us achieve our goal of recovering all the archaeological artifacts from the material so carelessly discarded from the Temple Mount.
As a personnel manager, Ohad worked tirelessly to form a cohesive bond among everyone at the site by sponsoring social activities like field trips and festive meals for the staff and volunteers. We are not just employees; we are a family of close-knit friends who enjoy each others’ company both on the job and out in the community.
One of Ohad’s greatest accomplishments was the recent exhibit of Sifting Project finds at the City of David during their 13th Annual Studies of Ancient Jerusalem Conference. Our “mini-museum” gave over 1,000 visitors an up-close (and, in some cases, even hands-on) look at museum-quality artifacts recovered by the Sifting Project. This exhibit vastly increased the awareness of the accomplishments of this project among both the professional archaeologists and the general public who attended the conference.
Rachel, an amazingly business-minded individual, has worked ceaselessly to increase the number of visitors to the site and bring an air of professionalism to the operation of the office. She is highly motivated and has given her heart and soul to the Project. Ohad has called her “the mother of the staff” for her efforts to coordinate staff scheduling and bring awareness of each staff member’s individual responsibilities.
Both Ohad and Rachel will be sorely missed at the Sifting Project, but we wish them well as they begin their new jobs.