Ptil Tekhelet will host “100 Years to Tekhelet Research,” a one-day international academic conference marking the centennial of the late Chief Rabbi Dr. Isaac Halevi Herzog’s groundbreaking doctoral dissertation, “The Dyeing of Purple in Ancient Israel,” on December 30, at the Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.
The conference, cosponsored by The Azrieli Foundation, Yad Harav Herzog, Yeshiva University, and Yeshiva University Israel Alumni, will feature lectures and presentations by scientists, academics, and rabbinic scholars from Israel and abroad on issues related to Rabbi Dr. Herzog’s research and its integral role in the subsequent rediscovery of biblical tekhelet. Member of Knesset Isaac Herzog, Rabbi Dr. Herzog’s grandson, will deliver opening remarks.
“Rabbi Herzog’s seminal work laid the foundation for all subsequent research on the subject, and ultimately led to the rediscovery of the authentic tekhelet dye needed to fulfill the biblical commandment of tzitzit (ritual fringes) and the reinstitution of the blue-dyed fringes, now worn by hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world,” said Dr. Baruch Sterman, cofounder of Ptil Tekhelet.
“We hope that this conference honors Rabbi Herzog’s memory by fulfilling his dream of reviving the use of authentic tekhelet strings on tzitzit, and shedding light on the rich ancient history and culture of the Jewish people.”
The event’s impressive line-up of presenters includes Professor Rabbi Avraham Steinberg (Israel Prize Laureate and Director of Yad Harav Herzog), Supreme Court Justice Neal Hendel, Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb (executive vice president emeritus of the Orthodox Union), Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin (Chief Rabbi of Efrat and Chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone Institutions), Rabbi Menachem Burstein (director of Machon Puah), and Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik (Rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel, NY, and director of Yeshiva University’s Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought).
In the 100 years since Rabbi Herzog’s dissertation, tekhelet researchers have employed a holistic approach, integrating numerous fields of knowledge, including religion, science, archaeology, art, and history, to determine the precise origins of the authentic tekhelet dye, and to perfect the production process.
“Tekhelet is fascinating in that it is a ‘rediscovered’ commandment whose intended function is to remind us of all the other commandments. It is the ‘common thread’ linking the Jewish people’s past to its present and future,” added Sterman.
Ptil Tekhelet, established in 1991 by Rabbi Eliyahu Tevger, Dr. Baruch Sterman, Dr. Ari Greenspan, and Joel Guberman, is the world’s leading organization promoting, producing, and providing educational resources about tekhelet as the basis for fulfilling the biblical commandment of tzitzit. v