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USHA (Heb. אוּשָׁה).

(1) Town in Lower Galilee mentioned in the annals of Sennacherib (a, 40). An ancient Hebrew seal found there attests to the existence of an Israelite settlement on the site in biblical times; one side reads Elzakar b. Yehoḥil and the other side Shobai b. Elzakar.

The place was of importance in mishnaic and talmudic times. In about 140 c.e., at the end of the period of persecution following the suppression of Bar Kokhba's revolt, the surviving scholars gathered there, reestablished the Sanhedrin (see next entry), and instituted the regulations known as the "Enactments of Usha" (Song R. 2:5, no. 3). For some time, it was the seat of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel; R. Judah ha-Nasi studied there under R. Judah b. Ilai, an inhabitant of the town (Tosef., Meg. 2:8). R. Isaac Nappaḥa owned five courtyards there (Tosef., Er. 7:7). It is the present-day Hūsha, a small ruin. Remains of a splendid building, perhaps a synagogue, were uncovered on the site.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

(2) Kibbutz in Lower Galilee in the Haifa Bay area, near Kiryat Ata, founded in 1937 by a group of Ha-No'ar ha-Ẓiyyoni originating from Galicia. The kibbutz was based on irrigated field and fodder crops, avocado plantations, citrus groves, and dairy cattle. It operated a factory producing lenses for eyeglasses. In 2002 the population was 354.

[Efraim Orni]


S. Klein (ed.), Sefer ha-Yishuv, 1 (1939), s.v.