Letter From Jerusalem, No. 5

Letter From Jerusalem, No. 5

There is a lovely little garden next to our apartment building and in the middle of it is a tomb from the period between 160-37 BCE when the Hasmoneans were rulers of this land. The tomb belonged to a Hellenized Jew whose name was Jason. He had some connection with the sea because there are paintings of ships on the walls.

The tomb was found when a contractor built our building about 40 years ago. Because part of the builder's property was declared an Historic Site, the State took ownership of that little piece of land. As compensation, the builder was allowed to build two extra floors on the apartment house.

Nothing gets built in this country before the Antiquities Authority comes and does what they call a rescue mission. The Authority wants to be sure that no ancient remains are lost before being studied. When a banquet hall was being added to the local Convention Center, the builders discovered it had been the site of a camp of the 10th Roman Legion, which occupied Jerusalem after 70 CE.

Now, when you go to a banquet or a wedding at that facility, named Teddy Hall after our famous mayor, Teddy Kollek, you can look down through a glass floor and see the recreation of that camp on site. It shows the Roman soldiers busy making roof tiles and sewer pipes and their tools and kilns are back in the places where they were found.

It's interesting and challenging to live where so much history took place. Come and see for yourselves.

If you would like to read Letter From Jerusalem #4, press here. For Letter #6, press here.