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israel's little etowah

04/30/2020 10:12:14 AM


Rabbi Dan Dorsch


Every time I’ve passed the sign on I-75, I’ve wanted to stop and see the archaeological mounds at Little Etowah, an old Native-American capital city. This week, I finally seized the opportunity.


It’s honestly underwhelming. All that stands there now are three large, historic, man-made mounds, surrounded by grassy fields.


Why was Little Etowah empty? In my initial skepticism, I assumed that European settlers had obliterated the city and exiled the population. However, I soon learned that this was not the case. At several points in Little Etowah’s history, residents fled and then returned during times of harsh weather or disease. When European settlers arrived, discovered the abandoned city, and asked nearby natives about the capital, the population had nearly forgotten about it. They knew about its location from stories, but it seems that the sparse information we have about Little Etowah has only been rediscovered mostly through modern archaeology.


Learning about Little Etowah, I couldn’t help but draw a stark contrast with the history of Jerusalem. After Jerusalem was destroyed it very well could have become another “Little Etowah.” However, Jews never stopped yearning for Zion and Jerusalem. As we went into exile and spread throughout the world, we carried this tradition and gravity of Jerusalem’s loss with us. We never stopped dreaming of the day when it would be rebuilt.


This week, we celebrated Israel’s 72nd Independence Day with a united Jerusalem as its capital. Thank God, our ancestors never gave up their resolve. Today’s Jerusalem, and greater Israel, are more than archaeological ruins: they are communities that are thriving and rebuilt.​​​​​​​

Wed, June 3 2020 11 Sivan 5780