Sukenik, Eliezer Lipa

views updated


SUKENIK, ELIEZER LIPA (1889–1953), Israel archaeologist. Born in Bialystok, Poland, he settled in Ereẓ Israel in 1912. In 1914, he began his teaching career, and eventually was appointed field archaeologist at the Hebrew University. He directed the excavations of the synagogues of *Beth-Alpha (1928) and *Hammath-Gader (1932) and participated with L.A. *Mayer in the clearance of the remains of the Third Wall in *Jerusalem (1925–27). From 1931 to 1933 he was a member of the expedition to *Samaria. In 1935 he was promoted to lecturer in archaeology and in 1938 he was appointed professor; in the same year he also became director of the University Museum of Jewish Antiquities. He excavated a number of synagogues and Jewish tombs in the vicinity of Jerusalem, the latter containing remains which he claimed were evidence of early Christianity, as well as Chalcolithic remains in Ḥaderah, including a tomb, and a Bronze Age site at Tell Jarisha. In 1947 Sukenik was instrumental in acquiring part of the *Dead Sea Scrolls – whose importance he immediately recognized – and he devoted the rest of his life to their study.

His many publications include excavation reports on Beth-Alpha, Hammath-Gader, Japhia and Salbīt Sha'alvim synagogues (published in the L.M. Rabinowitz Bulletin) and a study of the Dura-Europos synagogue, as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls (1958).

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

His wife, hasya sukenik-feinsod (1889–1968), was a pioneer kindergarten teacher. Also born in Bialystok, she settled in Ereẓ Israel in 1912, where she was among the founders of the kindergarten system and served as supervisor of kindergartens and director of kindergarten teachers' seminaries. She was a member of the *Asefat ha-Nivḥarim and the leader of the Women's Equal Rights Association. Their sons were: Yigael *Yadin, soldier and archaeologist; Yoseph Yadin, actor; and Matityahu Sukenik, a pioneer Israel Air Force pilot who fell in the War of Independence.

[Abraham Aharoni]


Eretz Israel, 8 (Sukenik volume, 1967).