Jewish Glass-makers

Although books on occupations which are characteristically Jewish seldom mention glass, Jews have been involved in the craft from very early times. The earliest traces of glass-making seem to occur in Mesopotamia in the early 2nd millennium b.c.e.1 By about 1500 b.c.e., the Phoenicians were involved, whether as traders or actual manufacturers. Egyptian glass was at a peak at the time of the Captivity, which makes it very possible that these skills were brought back by the former slaves; similarly the Jews on their return from the Babylonian exile in the sixth century b.c.e. must have brought knowledge of the very advanced glass tech? nology of Mesopotamia.

There is no documented evidence of glass making by Jews in early times but there are many legends and literary references. The only mention of zechuchit (glass) in the Old Testa? ment comes from the book of Job, ‘Gold and sapphire and glass

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