Scripture and Schism: Samaritan and Karaite Treasures

Samaritan Customs and Ceremonies

Samaritans at Mt. Gerizim
Nablus, ca. 1930

Nothing epitomizes the difference between the Samaritan religion and that of the Jews better than the rivalry between the shrines at Mt. Moriah and Mt. Gerizim, itself the continuation of a more ancient economic rivalry between Jerusalem and Shechem. Just as the Jews face the Temple Mount of Jerusalem in prayer, so the Samaritans face the site of their now destroyed Temple at Mt. Gerizim. Even without their temple standing, the Samaritans have continued to make pilgrimages to Mt. Gerizim during the three pilgrimage festivals of the liturgical year (Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot), and to hold most of their public ceremonies there during the rest of the year. Their ceremonies now take place slightly downslope from the site of the original sanctuary.