Thursday, November 17, 2011

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Changes at Kever Rochel

photos by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

The Jewish holy sites of Israel are all ancient.  Whether you lasted visited them a year ago, a decade ago or longer, you don’t expect them to change.  But Israel is growing and as part of investing in tourism is investing in holy site improvements.

I had a chance to visit Kever Rochel, the tomb of our biblical matriarch Rachel – wife of Jacob, briefly this evening with my wife.  As we’ve mentioned and shown in the past, the Kever Rochel of the previous generation has been turned into Fortress Rochel to deal with the political realities of our time.  Fortress Rochel is a reinforced concrete structure completely surrounding and encasing the old Kever Rochel building.  This did result in some cramping of the space around the kever itself.

The building had a long entry path and a number of doors that apparently led to unused spaces.  It seems the building is now being renovated to make use of all available space…

The old, or rather new entrance of Fortress Rochel, is now closed off…P1050532

Instead, you follow along the outside of the building to some archways in the wall, which have been opened with separate doorways for men and women.  I’m not sure if separate entrances will be the normal situation (it wasn’t in the recent past) or was merely set up for the high traffic of yaretzheit visitors last week.


This is the famous original entrance, at least several hundred years old, now complete contained inside the Fortress Rochel building.P1050537

The interior has been spruced up and is looking nice…P1050540

The ladies side was rather tight previously.  The side has been opened a bit to the exterior wall of the Fortress, giving it an airier feel (or so I’m told).


The real surprise is down the former long entry hallway…


The former entry way is being turned into a very classy synagogue or beis medresh…


The final result should be an overall nice improvement to the site.

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