With the help of G-d Almighty

Jericho slideshow
Rahab's house – the only building on Tel Jericho, that has survived whole
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דגל ישראל
 56 Years since the liberation of 
  Jerusalem and Jericho, 
 both liberated on the 28th Yiar 
 during the 6-Day War. 

Tel Jericho - Jericho's Central Heritage Site

The house of Rahab on Tel Jericho
The remains of Rahab's house on Tel Jericho

The most prominent place in Jericho is the "Tell" - the place of the Ancient Jericho.

The 'Tell' was surrounded by walls, regarding which our Rabbis taught: "One who sees the Walls of Jericho that fell must recite the blessing ‘who has made miracles for our fathers in this place.’" These walls were from the Bronze Age, which according to archeology, had been refurbished when the occupants of Jericho faced Joshua conquering the Land.

The walls have been excavated, and it is possible to see them. What a miracle - the entire eastern section of the wall (facing the direction from which Joshua and the People of Israel came), simply disappeared. As our Rabbis taught: the wall was swallowed up in its place.

The watchtower, adjacent to the wall on eastern side of the city, is apparently the city gate. It is conceivable that this was the house of Rahab the harlot, who resided next to the city gate. It is the only building on the site which is not totally in ruins, for the spies promised that Rahab and her household will be spared the destruction of Jericho (Joshua 2:18).

Some of the supporting walls, which can be seen today, are from the time of the Judges, when the Moabites, headed by King Eglon, briefly conquered Jericho.

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Beit Hogla East of Jericho

Beit Hogla east of Jericho Beit Hogla east of Jericho Beit Hogla east of Jericho

The biblical town of Beit Hogla is mentioned in the Book of Joshua, as being near the northern tip of the Dead Sea, on the frontier between Judah’s portion Binyamin’s portion: (Joshua 15:6) and (Joshua 18:19). It is mentioned again as one of the towns of Binyamin, together with Jericho and Beit El (Joshua 18:21).

Modern-day Beit Hogla is in the heart of the Biblical Gilgal (which is in the heart of the Plains of Jericho), where Israel dwelt after crossing the Jordan in preparation for the conquest of Jericho. Mt Nebo, where Moses spoke his last words, and from where he gazed at the Land of Israel, stands on the east bank of the Jordan, right across from Beit Hogla.

Present day Beit Hogla is an organic farm and community. The organic farm was founded by Erna Covos in 2001, after the Arabs vandalised the Shalom al Israel Synagogue in Jericho, where Jews studied every day in the Kollel, under the presidency of Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh.

For 15 years, Erna lived on the farm alone, and managed to plant, with the help of many dedicated volunteers, dates, olives, figs, pomegranates, papaya and many other fruit whose cultivation is extremely challenging in the hot desert climate and the salty, sandy ground. Recently, families have come to settle the place and form a community.

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The Shalom al Israel Synagogue - with its unique mosaic

The Shalom al Israel Synagogue in Jericho
The synagogue's mosaic

The ancient synagogue is from the Byzantine period, and is located near Tel Jericho and the Elisha Spring.

This synagogue was, without a doubt, built by a Jewish community that understood Jewish values, for the symbols on the mosaic floor teach us about the possible combinations to bring peace, holiness, unity, and prayer. And unlike most synagogues of the period, no hellenistic symbols are found on the mosaic (in contrast to the Naaran Synagogue, also in Jericho), and there are no names of benefactors.

On the contrary, an inscription on the mosaic states that "All members of the community are remembered for a blessing, the great and the small, to whom the King of the World helped and gave strength to build this mosaic. He who knows their names, the names of their wives, children and kinfolk will inscribe them in the Book of Life together with all the righteous. Friends of all Israel. Shalom.".

A tradition has it that this is the place where Joshua was met by the Angel of G-d before embarking on the conquest of Jericho (Joshua 5:13).

See a detailed plan of the mosaic 

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The Anniversary of the Conquest of Jericho

Jericho was conquered by Joshua bin Nun on the 28th of Nissan. The People of Israel went round the walls of the city blowing ram's horns for 6 days; on the 7th day the walls were absorbed into the ground (Joshua 6:1-21).

We celebrate the anniversary of this miraculous event every year on the 28th Nissan, by blowing the Shofar on Tel Jericho, the remains of the city conquered by Joshua, after praying Shaharit (morning prayer) in the Shalom al Israel Synagogue.

Blowing the Shofar on Tel Jericho

See photos of the event on the 28th Nissan 2019 

The Annual Hoshana Rabbah Festive Prayer in Jericho

Celebrating Hoshana Rabbah in the Shalom al Israel Synagogue in Jericho
Click to see the photo album of the event

Every year on Hoshana Rabbah eve (the eve of the 7th day of Sukkot), we study Torah all night in Beit Hogla, east of Jericho. In the morning, we travel to the ancient Shalom al Israel Synagogue in Jericho, where we hold a festive prayer, during which we circle the synagogue 7 times with the four species in hand.

This is a well-established Jewish tradition, which commemorates Joshua Bin Nun's final seven encirclements of Jericho, after which the walls fell down and the city was conquered.

Thus, the Hoshana Rabbah festival has a very special connection with Jericho, which is celebrated every year in the Shalom al Israel Synagogue.

See the annual Hoshana Rabbah celebrations that took place in the last 10 years (in Hebrew)

The Biblical Gilgal

The Biblical Gilgal between Jericho and the Jordan
The Biblical Gilgal between Jericho and the Jordan

In the time of Joshua, the first encampment of the Children of Israel after crossing the Jordan River was "on the eastern edge of Jericho" The place was called "The Gilgal" because the entire Jewish People circumcised themselves. "Today I revealed (Goloti) the shame of Egypt from amongst you." (Joshua 5:9) In this place the Tabernacle was erected and stood there 14 years. The sanctity of the place was reserved for later generations. Here, King Saul was anointed, and in sharp contrast, other places of idoatrous worship were set up here during the kingdom.

Here, twelve stones were taken by the Kohanim when they crossed the Jordan River. These twelve stones are an eternal sign that the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry land.

Today, the "Jaljala" ruins is located three kilometers east of the city's centre, on the ancient path from the "Hogla" crossing to Tel Jericho. Several ruins remain there, which have not yet been excavated. It is possible that these ruins are the place of the Tabernacle, the pile of foreskins, the twelve stones, and the city itself. Nearby, there are ruins that have been excavated and found to be from the Byzantine Period.

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Visiting the Holy City of Jericho

Shalom al Israel mosaic centrepiece
Centrepiece of the Shalom
al Israel mosaic

Artcle written by: Ari Z. Zivotofsky & Yosef N. Zivotofsky

In-depth illustrated article about Jericho, its significance and its history, as well as personal impressions on a visit to the Shalom-al Israel synagogue during Hannukah 2010. Also, a movie of the New Month prayer...
Read the article... 

Volunteering in Beit Hogla

Volunteering in Beit Hogla east of Jericho
Picking fruit

Beit Hogla always welcomes:

  • Helping hands in agriculture - groups can come for a week at a time or for a few days at a time
  • Families or singles who want to make their home in this beautiful place
  • Are there people from Gush Katif who want to participate in the development of the farm? Here, we also cultivate on the sand, here also we experience the special blessing which Itzhak received in Grar (which is after all Gush Katif).

Contact: Erna 052-8699300.

Read about Beit Hogla 

The Hasmonean Winter Palaces

The third palace of King Herod on the western side of Jericho
Herod's Third Palace

An impressive relic of the latter, and thoroughly corrupt, generations of the Hasmonean kings, who built for themselves luxurious winter palaces on the western side of Jericho.

The palaces were built in six stages by three kings: Yohanan Hyrcanus(the son of Shimon Ben Matisyahu), his son Alexander Yanai, and finally King Herod who built three palaces, furnished with all the luxurious depravity inspired by his Roman masters.

This is an important and unique archaeological site, which bears witness to the period, but is being choked and compromised by the neighbouring Bedouins.

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Discover Jericho's heritage sites