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In the Crucible of Egypt

C. S. Teitelbaum

The British Museum’s collection of Egyptian artifacts is second only to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. With this magnificent display as his background, Rabbi Arye Forta tells the story of our ancestors who lived in Mitzrayim.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

British-bornRabbiAryeForta has been giving his Tanach Tour for more than seven years and with Pesach approaching, the timing of our tour couldn’t be more appropriate. Of course, we won’t be able to see all the 100,000 objects relating to ancient Egypt, let alone the other seven million objects the museum owns. Only 5 percent of the collection is on display in the public galleries; the remainder is kept under lock and key, with the organic remains under strictly controlled temperature and humidity conditions. Yet there is still plenty to see during our visit to the museum’s Egyptian galleries, whose prized possession is the Rosetta Stone, a second-century BCE stele that helped the world decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics. AndRabbiForta — who has taught Biblical Hebrew, Tanach, and ancient Jewish history during a career that spans more than five decades — is a natural storyteller whose enthusiasm for the tour’s topic shows. But how did he make the leap from Tanach and Jewish history to becoming an expert in ancient Egyptian history as well?

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