Tag Archives: Middle East

Paul’s Badè Museum Visit

Bade Museum of Biblical Archaeology sign, Berkeley CA 21019 Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Dec 2019

As a potter and ceramic spatial artist, my son Paul D. Goodman was very interested in my recent archaeology class at Pacific School of Religion with Dr. Aaron Brody, Robert and Kathryn Riddell Professor of Bible and Archaeology, and Director of the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology. Professor Brody generously agreed to let Paul visit the museum archives yesterday to see some of the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and later artifacts found during 1926-1935 by Professor William F. Bade at Tell en-Nasbeh, Israel.

Paul particularly loved being able to touch the ancient ceramics and tools. He said it was the first time since our 2010 trip to Egypt that he had been able to hold something with that much history in it. Professor Brody and Paul discussed the chemistry and mineralogy involved in potting and firing, and the geology of some of the museum’s stone objects. A fun visit!

Professor Aaron Brody and Paul D Goodman at Bade Museum, Berkeley CA, 15 Jan 2020
Paul D Goodman at Bade Museum, Berkeley CA, 15 Jan 2020
Paul D Goodman at Bade Museum, Berkeley CA, 15 Jan 2020
Katy Dickinson and Paul D Goodman at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley CA, 15 Jan 2020

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Images Copyright 2019-2o2o by Katy Dickinson.

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Christmas 2019

Matthew Katy John Jessica Paul Christmas 2019

May this blessed Christmas season bring you and your family joy! It has been a busy Christmas, starting even before I turned in my last (16 and 18 page) term papers at the Graduate Theological Union. So far, our adventures have included:

Reading group for Dickens Christmas Carol Dec 2019
train, railroad ornaments Christmas 2019
Santa Clara First Baptist Church Bethlehem Christmas 2019
Santa Clara First Baptist Church Bethlehem Christmas 2019
Tenzin at Islamic Networks Group lunch Christmas 2019
Paul Katy Sally at Chinatown Christmas 2019
Katy Dickinson with TechWomen US State Department certificate Christmas 2019
Jessica Paul Katy at Dickens Fair Christmas 2019
Christmas candle 2019
Jessica Matthew Katy John Paul Star Wars movie Christmas 2019
Paul D. Goodman with reclaimed hardwood cutting board Dec 2019
John at St Andrew's Episcopal Church Christmas Eve 2019
St Andrew's Episcopal Church Christmas Eve 2019
Katy John at Elmwood jail Christmas 2019
Matthew Katy John Jessica Paul Christmas 2019

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Images Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson.

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Tour of the Badè Museum

Dr. Aaron Brody, Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Dec 2019
I very much enjoyed my Graduate Theological Union classes during the Fall 2019 semester, particularly “Archaeology of the Lands of the Bible” by Dr. Aaron Brody, Robert and Kathryn Riddell Professor of Bible and Archaeology, and Director of the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology. Part of the fun was getting to see and touch ancient artifacts in storage. We even got to discuss Tell en-Nasbeh artifacts with visiting scholar Dr. Aharon Tavger of Ariel University, Israel. Below is my final paper for the class, proposing the creation of a traveling exhibit for three Badè Museum artifacts.

Aharon Tavger with chalice at Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Nov 2019
Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Dec 2019
Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Dec 2019

Archaeology of the Lands of the Bible, Paper 3
5 December 2019

In this third paper for the Archaeology of the Lands of the Bible class, I will describe three objects from Pacific School of Religion’s Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology for a traveling museum exhibit. If it could get security clearance, this exhibit would serve as an excellent instructional aid for an audience at Elmwood jail in Mipitas, California, where sixteen incarcerated men are taking my class, Transforming Literature of the Bible, in which they study the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament. I chose these particular objects for their relevance to that study area and high potential for interest to the students. Men in jail get very little unfiltered information. They have the televisions and what few books and magazines drift into their controlled environment. Direct access to ancient artifacts could enrich their lives and stimulate their understanding and interest in learning. Security requirements mean that this exhibit would need to take the form of an interactive presentation, not a self-guided tour. After briefly describing the objects, I would present some research I did to prepare their museum labels, connect each artifact with the history of the biblical city of Mizpah, as told in the Book of Jeremiah 40-41, and also link them with the more familiar story of Jesus and the Roman Empire.

3 coins, Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Dec 2019 Objects: Three Coins
Left: Bronze Prutah. Reverse has a wreath and date LIH “the year 18,” corresponding to 31-32 CE when Pontius Pilate was Procurator of Judea under Tiberius Caesar.
Center: Silver Tetradrachm from Tyre, 1st century CE. From a coin hoard at Qumran.
Right: Bronze Prutah. Umbrella with fringe encircled by Greek inscription, “King Agrippa.” Dated circa 42-43 CE, during reign of King Herod Agrippa I.
From: Tell en-Nasbeh, Israel.
Date: 1st century CE, Roman Period.
Stone Foot Bath, Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Dec 2019 Object: Stone Foot Bath
Portable stone bath with integrated foot rest. Used in Ancient Near Eastern tradition of foot washing to welcome guests and travelers with an act of hospitality. In Christian scripture, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet in John 13:14-17, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”
From: Tell en-Nasbeh, Israel.
Date: circa 8th century BCE?
Ossuary or Bone Box, Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Dec 2019 Object: Bone Box – Stone Ossuary
During this period, the Jews of Palestine practiced a custom called “second burial.” Bodies were first placed in tombs and after the flesh decayed, the bones were put into limestone bone boxes or ossuaries. The ossuaries were stored in niches in a special tomb. The Jews were the only people in Roman times to employ second burial. The practice may have been tied to a belief in physical resurrection of the Pharisees.
From: Tell en-Nasbeh, Israel.
Date: 150 BCE – 200 CE.


In presenting this collection of objects to the inmate, I would briefly open with the stories of the Iron Age city of Mizpah, the Tell en-Nasbeh archaeological site northwest of Jerusalem, and of the Badè Museum collection. I would also tell the larger story of the Kingdom of Judah versus the Babylonian Empire, the destruction of the first Temple, and what happened after. I would then read aloud Jeremiah 40-41 in its entirety. With Jerusalem in ruins, Jeremiah 40 tells how the king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah as his governor in the new capital city of Mizpah in the Yehud province. Displaying and describing the Three Coins, I would draw parallels between Mizpah’s history and how much later, the Roman Empire ruled over their Province of Judea. This would include how violent resistance against empires lead to the destruction of the first Temple in 587 BCE by the Babylonians, and the second Temple in 70 CE by the Romans. The current Badè Museum display labels for the Three Coins do not say much about the coins but they were apparently found in tombs at Tell en-Nasbeh. On the left is a Bronze Prutah coin showing a wreath around a date from the time of Pontius Pilate.[1] In the middle is a silver Tetradrachm (also called a Tyrian Shekel) featuring the profile of Melqart, or Tyrian Hercules. This may be the coin mentioned in four stories of the New Testament.[2] One Badè Museum label says this coin was from a hoard at Qumrun (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found) but another seems to indicate that it was found in a tomb at Tell en-Nasbeh. Maybe the coin was from Tell en-Nasbeh but similar to others found at Qumrun? The coin on the right is another Bronze Prutah showing an umbrella with the words “King Agrippa.” After the elemental makeup of the prutah was studied in 2010, this was found to be a coin of King Herod Agrippa I (37-44 CE), not his son, King Herod Agrippa II (49-95 CE).[3] Four King Herods are mentioned in the New Testament and students are often confused between them. Money is always interesting. Ancient money from about the time of Jesus would engage the interest of inmates in artifacts and history.

After the Three Coins, I would then return to the story in Jeremiah 41:1-3 in which Ishmael son of Nethaniah and his men murder the governor Gedaliah during dinner. Turning to the Stone Foot Bath as the next object, I would talk about its use as part of complex hospitality practices in the Ancient Near East. A foot bath is an element of how the guest and host interact formally, not just providing guests with a needed cleanup but also helping to establish a covenantal relationship. As the Badè Museum display says, “Harsh desert life and dangerous travel conditions necessitated the implementation of rules for the protection of both the traveler and the host.”[4] The label for Stone Foot Bath at the Badè Museum does not include a date and I did not find the artifact in the data records listed Open Context’s online Badè Museum archive.[5] However, on the web I found a ceramic foot bath similar in design from Tel Lachish, Israel, dated in the 8th century, BCE.[6] Perhaps the portable oval design with an integrated raised foot rest in the middle mean that they are of a similar age? (Or, maybe foot bath designs are so basic that they do not change much over time?) The cultural importance of foot washing as part of purification and hospitality is evidenced by many mentions throughout the Bible, including Genesis 18:4, Genesis 24:32, Exodus 30: 17-21, 1 Samuel 25:41, Song of Solomon 5:3, John 13:14-17, 1 Timothy 5:10, and Tobit 6:3. This Stone Foot Bath a part of a traveling exhibit may allow the inmates to connect viscerally with the scripture in John 13:14-17, in which Jesus shows humility by washing his disciples’ feet. Visualizing exactly how this object was used during foot washing may help them think more deeply about the scripture and its meaning. If the audience can touch the object, the connection will be even more powerful. To further engagement, I would ask the audience if they thought Ishmael broke the rules of hospitality by murdering his dinner host, and if the political situation between him and governor Gedaliah justified it.

Finally, I will use the Bone Box to represent how the ceremonies of life were disrupted by the dramatic events described in Jeremiah. The Bone Box is a good choice because it could be particularly meaningful for the Elmwood inmates both for religious and cultural reasons. The connection between the practice of using an ossuary for secondary burial and the Pharisees’ belief in physical, individual resurrection (referred to in Acts 23:6-8) could stimulate thinking about the relationship of ancient Pharisee and modern Christian beliefs. About two thirds of my students in jail are Latino, and many come from Mexico where the Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an annual family celebration featuring cheerful images of skulls and skeletons. This limestone Bone Box with its elegant carvings of stylized geometric flowers and columns is a particularly approachable artifact. It could be interpreted as a way of connecting to friends and family who have died, rather than being morbid.

I would relate the story in Jeremiah to the artifact by getting the audience to think about what is takes to maintain complex burial rituals. For such rituals to be carried through, the community must have stable access to tombs and the safety, time, and materials to do the work. In Jeremiah 40:9-10, Gedaliah tries to reestablish the rhythms of normal life after the Babylonian empire has conquered the kingdom of Judah. Gedaliah says to the people, “Stay in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall go well with you… gather wine and summer fruits and oil, and store them in your vessels, and live in the towns…” However, this attempt to reestablish a stable society and economy is halted by Gedaliah’s murder, and further slaughter of men of Judah and Babylonian soldiers by Ishmael and his followers. In Jeremiah 41:8, Ishmael and his men accept bribes not to kill some of the wealthy of Mizpah, “But there were ten men among them who said to Ishmael, ‘Do not kill us, for we have stores of wheat, barley, oil, and honey hidden in the fields.’ So he refrained, and did not kill them along with their companions.” This is a story of a violently disrupted community using its stored resources to survive in the moment, rather than supporting its long-term ritual and spiritual life. While the Bone Box itself is from an unfamiliar time and place, many in the jail audience have deep experience of violent disruption of community life by gangs and crime. I think they will find this artifact and its story engaging.

Direct access to ancient artifacts like the Three Coins, Stone Foot Bath, and Bone Box has potential to stimulate inmates’ understanding through an interactive presentation connecting each artifact with the history of the biblical city of Mizpah and also with the more familiar story of Jesus and the Roman Empire. Bringing to jail a traveling museum exhibit including objects from ancient Tell en-Nasbeh will serve the Badè Museum’s mission to foster a greater understanding and appreciation for the ancient biblical world and will enrich the experience of the men of Elmwood.[7]


[1] “Ancient Jewish Coins: Coins from the Procurators (6-66 CE),” Jewish Virtual Library – A Project of AICE, Accessed 20 Nov 2019, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/coins-from-the-procurators.

[2] Steve Rudd, “Phoenician coins – Coins of the Bible: Shekel of Tyre,” The Interactive Bible, Accessed 20 Nov 2019, http://www.bible.ca/coins/Jesus-coins-of-the-bible-Phoenician-Tyre-Tyrian-Shekel-official-sancturary-Temple-tax-Peters-fish-money-changers-Judas-30-silver-pieces.htm.

[3] “Figuring Out the Realm for the ‘Coin of the Realm,’” NIST Time Capsule – National Institute of Standards and Technology, 13 Feb 2019, https://www.nist.gov/nist-time-capsule/any-object-any-need-call-nist/figuring-out-realm-coin-realm.

[4] “Hospitality in the Ancient Near East,” Badè Museum informational display, as of 18 Nov 2019.

[5] “Open Context,” Alexandria Archive Institute, accessed 20 Nov 2019, https://opencontext.org/subjects-search/?proj=14-bade-museum.

[6] Robert J. Morgan, “The Israel Museum,” Robert J. Morgan, 2017. https://www.robertjmorgan.com/events-and-travel/the-israel-museum/.

[7] “Welcome!” Badè Museum informational display, as of 18 Nov 2019.

Sling stones at Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Nov 2019
Bronze clasps at Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, Nov 2019

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Images Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson.

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Best Mentoring Practices

Katy Dickinson moderates TechWomen panel on Best Practices in Mentoring, 17 Sep 2019

Yesterday, I moderated a mentoring panel for the TechWomen Mentor Kickoff event (hosted by SurveyMonkey in San Francisco). The experienced and inspiring panelists were:

Some of our advice:

  • Katy: Look for long term success, this is a personal relationship in a professional setting
  • Roojuta: Be flexible, make introductions, find people to help
  • Jennifer: Create handouts for events, give good directions with pictures, be flexible, reach out to other mentors
  • Kiko: Provide resources, help the group find value in each other, encourage teamwork, stay focused, show up and listen

I also offered my five best questions:

  1. What problem are you solving? (define the challenge)
  2. How do you know when you are done? (success/completion metrics)
  3. Who is your customer? (target audience)
  4. What is your data? (quantification)
  5. What difference will it make? (impact)

These are on my Mentoring Standard website

I was proud to attend this event with my Co-Mentor and daughter, Jessica Dickinson Goodman. She is a Country Coach for Palestine and I am a Country Coach for Algeria this year.
Katy Dickinson and daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman, TechWomen Mentors, 17 Sep 2019
Katy Dickinson moderates TechWomen panel on Best Practices in Mentoring, 17 Sep 2019

Just for fun – some of my collection of magnets from the 22 TechWomen countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia:
TechWomen country magnets - collection of Katy Dickinson 2019
TechWomen country magnets - collection of Katy Dickinson 2019

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Images Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson – with thanks to Jessica Dickinson Goodman.

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TechWomen Team Algeria 2019

Proud to have been accepted as a TechWomen mentor for the 8th time, this year as Impact Coach for Algeria. I am honored be working for the 4th year with co-mentors Mercedes Soria and Fatema Kothari.

The 108 TechWomen emerging leaders from 22 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area in September. Larissa Brown Shapiro and I were co-mentors for TechWomen Fellow Imen Rahal of Algeria in 2013, giving me some background. So looking forward to this! TechWomen is a program of the US State Department for which I was Process Architect in 2010-2011.

My daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman was also accepted as a TechWomen mentor, for 2019 Team Palestine!

Katy Dickinson, Fatema Kothari, Mercedes Soria, TechWomen October 2018

Algeria camel plate 2013
Algeria camel scene 2013

Pictures Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson – of gifts from Imen Rahal, 2013. Photo of Katy, Mercedes, and Fatema taken by IIE TechWomen, October 2018. Quote posted by IIE to TechWomen Twitter site, 11 April 2018.


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Communities of Liberation, Cuernavaca Mexico (3)

This is the third in a short series about my two week Spanish language and social justice immersion program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, with Pacific School of Religion‘s Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS) and CILAC Freire.

Costumbres y Tradiciones (customs and traditions) – One of our talks included the charming concept of Mexico’s own “Vitamin T” – tacos, tostadas, tamales, tortas, tlacoyos and, of course, tequila. In Dora’s kitchen, we happily ate a great deal of Vitamin T. One Dora’s oldest kitchen tools was her mother’s molcajete (mortar) and temolote (pestle) for grinding spices. We saw more modern molcajetes in the market, painted with dog and pig faces. Even when our group got up early for day trips to visit Tepotzotlán and Mexico City, Dora was always there to be sure we were well fed and cared for. On our last day, she took us on a special trip to the municipal market to buy flameware pots after we admired those she used so well.



Another part of the Costumbres y Tradiciones talk was about the Virgin of Guadalupe whose 1531 image was ubiquitous during our travels in Mexico. We learned that Guadalupe has a connection to Tonantzin, the Aztec mother goddess, and that many believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe who do not believe in Jesus Christ, or even God. I did not know until hearing this talk that there is an Arabic connection to Guadalupe: the name (probably) derives from that of a Spanish river, the name for which has Arabic roots. Since my house in San Jose, California, is on the Guadalupe River, I was very interested!



One of the lovely old churches we walked by every time we went to downtown Cuernavaca was Parroquia San José El Calvario which not only has a variety of images of the Virgin of Guadalupe inside but a special building for her statue on the street outside. In addition to the prominent outside image of Mary, inside San José El Calvario I found a saint I never heard of before, San Charbel Makhlouf – a Maronite monk of Lebanon. I found another statue of San Charbel in the Parroquia de la Asuncion, Sagrario Metropolitano, in Mexico City. In both churches, his image stood above collections of many colored satin ribbons. A Catholic friend from Michoacán told me that San Charbel is very popular and powerful and that each ribbon represents thanks for a healing. In 2013, during our visit to Lebanon, TechWomen Fellow Adla Chatila took my daughter Jessica and me to see the Cedars of Lebanon, Khalil Gibran‘s home, and the Mar Bishay Hermitage, Qozhaya. The Monastery of Qozhaya is close to where San Charbel is from. I was not expecting to see so many connections to the Middle East while in Mexico.

Parroquia San José El Calvario, Cuernavaca 2019

San Charbel Makhlouf in Parroquia San José El Calvario, Cuernavaca, and in Mexico City, 2019


Monastery of Qozhaya, 2013

Iglesia del Río de la Plata y La Colectiva Diversa – In addition to the Spanish lessons and talks, our class went on a variety of field trips, including spending an evening with an inspiring community church in Cuernavaca called Iglesia del Río de la Plata y La Colectiva Diversa, lead for over thirty years by Rev. Alfonso Leija. Rev. Alfonso generously shared his remarkable story of developing the church and small hospice to support the LGBTQ community during the early AIDs epidemic. We heard from some of the church members and briefly shared something about ourselves. I only wish the air pollution had been less intense that night so that we could have learned more.

Photos Copyright 2013-2019 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen Team Morocco – Connect to Impact

I have been proud to team up with Mercedes Soria and Fatema Kothari for a third year as TechWomen impact coaches, to work with five remarkable leaders from Morocco: Safaa Boubia, Nisrine Oukacha, Fatima Zzahra Meziane, Fatima Zahra Oumenni, and Imane Nassif. We have been working together since the ladies arrived in September to create Connect to Impact – a new online platform offering resources for nonprofits in Morocco to showcase their actions plans, increase their awareness and access to donors, and in time, improve their skills through fit-for-purpose training. Connect to Impact will provide a bilateral matchmaking algorithm between donors and nonprofit organizations.

Team Morocco presented about Connect to Impact at TechWomen Pitch Day yesterday. We find out at the Community Event on Monday, 22 October 2018, which of the twenty country teams won.

What is TechWomen?
TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.

TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). TechWomen, launched in 2011, supports the United States’ global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by enabling them to reach their full potential in the tech industry.

Part of the joy of TechWomen is its large and supportive community. My daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman is also a TechWomen mentor, again coaching Team Palestine, which also gave an excellent pitch yesterday.  During the intermission, we got to see videos from TechWomen Fellows of prior years, including Solve24, created by our own 2017 Team Lebanon. Wish us luck in winning the pitch competition!

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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson

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