Category Archives: jerusalem

Sir Moses Haim Montefiore

The carriage of Sir Moise Montefiore

The carriage of Sir Moise Montefiore



Moses Haim Montefiore was born in 1784 in Italy, Sephardic Jew, he visited the Holy Land for the first time in 1827 for a few days, this visit changed his life.

He then became a Pious man who respects all religious observances Jew.

Three years earlier, he had decided to retire from his business in the United Kingdom, and devoted himself at the age of 40, thanks to his immense fortune, to help the Jewish population of the  ” Holy Land ”  who lived in great poverty.

He devoted the rest of his particularly long life – he died 101 years old, to the cause of the Jews throughout the world.

The wind mill in the Yemin Moshe quarter

The wind mill in the Yemin Moshe quarter

He was a great philanthrope, not only He fought against discrimination in his own country but also around the world in Turkey, Russia, Morocco and Persia always aiming to alleviate the condition of the Jews in these countries.

In 1855, Moses Montefiore built the first houses outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem, in an area called ”Yemin Moshe” or ‘Mishkenot Sha’a nanim’ ‘meaning the’ Field of the Blessed ” . This very poor jewish community was living inside the old city, in a crowded area where sanitary conditions were deplorable,

The mill built by Moise Montefiore in 1857, has been recently renovated, it never really worked because of the lack of wind in Jerusalem.

Simon Sebag-Montefiore recounts in his book ” Jerusalem ”

” In March 1840, seven Jews of Damascus were accused of killing a Christian monk and his Muslim servant in order to use their blood for a human sacrifice to Passover. When he had barely returned to London, Sir Moses Montefiore, supported by the Rothschilds, became head of the campaign to save the Jews of Damascene from these medieval persecutions. Montefiore rushed to Alexandria with Adolphe Cremieux, a French lawyer, there they met Mehmet Ali and succeeded to release the prisoners. But a few weeks later, there was a new case of blood libel in Rhodes. Montefiore sailed to Istanbul, where he was received by the Sultan, he persuaded him to issue a decree which refute the rumors of ritual murders. Montefiore experienced its greatest success – this is probably due to his nationality together with his strong diplomacy skills, In that time, it was sweet to be English in the Middle East. ”

Businessman, innovator, investor, founder and director of a bank, its purpose was to                                            promote Industry, Education and Health.

          He received many honors during his life time, he became a Knight and a Baronet.

                            His 100th Birthday was celebrated throughout Great Britain.

He travelled seven times to the Holy Land initially by coach then by boat sometimes accompanied by his wife, Judith, who, despite his poor health followed him. His carriage also renovated, is exposed near the mill.

            He was ninety-one years old when he made his last journey to the Holy land.

                                     He died in 1885 in England, Ramsgate (Kent).

                               There is a famous song in Hebrew on Sir Montefiore

                               Ha’Sar Montifiori Moshe (Moshe Montefiore Minister)

             They also say that he would distribute money to the poor on top of his carriage. 

The coat of arms of the Montefiore

The coat of arms of the Montefiore


The rite of the Sacred Fire

feu sacre 3

It is an ancient ritual that symbolizes eternity, peace and resurrection of Christ.

The Holy Sepulchre is the latest episodes of the Passion of Christ, His crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

Many Christian from the Orthodox faith come to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem during Easter to follow this traditional ceremony of the “Sacred fire”,

From the first hours of the day a crowd of believers eagerly await this miracle. The atmosphere is tense. The Greek Orthodox patriarch enters the Chapel of the empty tomb, and, according to tradition, while he is praying for long hours, appears a ray of light, which does not burn but sparkles and illuminates. The patriarch lit his candles and a bouquet assembled thirty three candles thirty-three as the age of Christ. and, passed, the sacred fire very rapidly among the faithful. Cheers explode some cry others sing,

Outside, the Kyrie eleison “CHRIST IS RESURRECTED. ” Are becoming increasingly pressing, hands tend waving candles to candles.

                                         The secret about the origin of ‘sacred fire’ is carefully preserved                                                                     by the Orthodox hierarchy.

In front of the basilica, the Israeli police maintains order, it is often impossible to get so many people in this sacred enclosure.

This day is made of songs, music, prayers and ceremonies for each church according to their tradition.

Six chretien communities manage the Holy Sepulchre, Greek Orthodox, Latin Rite Catholics, Armenian Apostolic, Egyptian Copts, the Syrian Orthodox and Orthodox Ethiopians. Each of Church controls a carefully defined part of the building.

                                       In the past, the ceremony of the “Sacred Fire” has been repeatedly                                                           marred by fights between people of different                                                                         communities and dramas inside the Holy Sepulchre.

feu sacre 2

The Jerusalem Syndrome

A visitor walking barefoot winter and summer in the old city of Jerusalem

A visitor walking barefoot winter and summer in the old city of Jerusalem

For centuries, thousands of visitors have been visiting Jerusalem.
Among them there is a small number – victim of what experts call the ”Jerusalem Syndrome”.
This is the result of an emotional  trauma caused by the proximity of the Holy Places …
There are about forty people each year from among two millions of tourists, who have been hospitalized in Jerusalem for believing to be either the Messiah, Mary Magdalene or any other biblical character.
In the Capital they are being taken care of by the Emergency departments of Kfar Shaul Psychiatric Hospital. These ”would-be Messiahs” with their eccentric and bizarre behaviour are attracted by the mystique of the Holy City and are completely losing touch with reality. They become psychotic upon entering Jerusalem.
Contrary to what was expected, the year 2000 was not the safe haven for all these “false Messiahs.” Only a few arrived in Jerusalem, and were taken care of by the Israel Police, psychiatrists and psychologists.
Specialists from the Kfar Shaul Psychiatric Hospital in Jerusalem published in August 2000
in the British Journal of Psychiatry a study that reported on this syndrome:
”Jerusalem, a city that combines the sense of the sacred, history and paradise, has an unparalleled attraction for believers of various religions of the world – especially the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
When people dream of Jerusalem, they do not see modern Jerusalem and politically controversial, but the City Religious Scripture and biblical.
Since 1980, psychiatrists of Jerusalem met with a growing number of tourists, arriving in Jerusalem, suffer psychotic decompensation. Because of the high incidence of this phenomenon, it was decided to direct all such cases to a single institution – the psychiatric hospital in Kfar Shaul – for psychological counseling, psychiatric intervention and, if necessary, admission to hospital. Over a period of 13 years (1980-1993), 1200 tourists with serious mental problems were taken to this hospital in Jerusalem . Of these, 470 were admitted to hospital which sees an average of 100 tourists per year for this condition, including forty need to be hospitalized.”
An old Palestinian man with his donkey on the Mount of Olives like in a Biblical time

An old Palestinian man with his donkey on the Mount of Olives like in a Biblical time