Beit El - the site where Abraham built an altar to G-d and called upon the Name of the L-rd
Beit El - the site of Jacob's dream, angels ascending and descending a ladder which reached the heavens
Beit El - the place where G-d told Jacob that the nations of the world would be blessed through his family
Beit El - where the L-rd promised to give the Holy Land of Israel as an inheritance to Abraham, Jacob and their offspring
Beit El - the place where generations of Jews came to pray, as Jacob proclaimed, "This is a house of the L-rd, the gate to the heavens"
Beit El - where Judah Maccabee built his army
Due to the wide spectrum of archeological and historical discoveries in Beit El, a tour can be suited to a variety of audiences. The Biblical story, the archeological finds, the ancient agricultural terraces, the Hasmonian burial caves, the ancient Olive Press Cave, and the spectacular view, together with excellent walking paths, provide a multidisciplinary approach to learning about the life in these parts during the time of our forefathers and the basic existence and survival of the Jewish nation in the Land of Israel throughout the generations.
"Lift Your Eyes" Observation Tower
At the summit of Jacob's Peak, there is an observation point with a spectacular view atop the water tower of the town. From the lookout tower, one can see virtually the whole Promised Land. The observation point overlooks the coastal plain in the west, Judea and Samaria, the hills of Jerusalem to the south, and the Hermon Mountain in the north. In the center of the floor of the tower is a unique mosaic map of the Promised Land of Israel, and the Biblical verses in which the Land is promised to our forefathers Abraham and Jacob.
The Site of Jacob's Dream
On Jacob's Peak is the site of Jacob's Dream, the place where, according to tradition, our forefather Jacob slept and dreamt his famous dream: "And behold, a ladder set firmly on the ground reached heavenward." (Genesis 28:12)
Here one can feel the special connection of the Jewish People to the Biblical traditions and to our Land. To stand next to Jacob's Rock with an open Chumash (Torah) in one's hand and read: "And I will return you (Jacob/the Jewish People) to this Land," (ibid 28:15) and to suddenly realize that one is part of the fulfillment of a Divine promise to our forefather Jacob, is an unforgettably moving experience.
Next to Jacob's Rock stands a huge wormwood oak tree, the oldest of its kind in Israel, dated at around 1,000 years. About 30 meters to the east are archeological ruins from the First Temple period which the late Professor Zev Vilnai attributes to the altar of Jeroboam the son of Nevat (Kings I). In the vicinity of the site are dozens of Jewish burial caves from the Hasmonian period, as well as a unique Olive Oil Press Cave with ancient olive presses from the Second Temple period. Nearby one can walk the Wine Press Trail, which includes two ancient wine presses from the First and Second Temple periods.
Archeological Ruins of an Ancient Jewish Town
A few years ago, the ruins of an ancient Jewish town were discovered next to the Maoz Tzur neighborhood in Beit El. The town was apparently established with the Return to Zion, as described in the Book of Ezra and the Book of Nehemiah. Among the finds from the archeological ruins are clay pots and dozens of coins from the rule of King Yannai.
As of now, visitors to Beit El can gather in the beautiful Cultural Center adjacent to the municipal library. The Cultural Hall, where a film can be screened to an audience of up to 180 people, is home to two Beit-El-Through-the-Ages timelines. The first is the Biblical timeline, which shows the history of the Jewish People from the birth of our forefather Abraham until the destruction of the Second Temple and the destruction of Beit El. The second timeline relates the modern story of Beit El, whose seeds of rebirth were planted at the beginning of the twentieth century, and which will hopefully continue to grow and flourish, and to enrich the entire Benjamin region and all of the Land of Israel.
"Tefillin Beit El" is a unique factory where the vast majority of the Tefillin sold in Israel are produced. This world-renown factory set the Halachik (Jewish legal) standard for the production of Tefillin, and a model for imitation in the field. A tour of the Tefillin factory allows one to witness the production of Tefillin from beginning to end. Most visitors are astounded by the artistry required in preparing these humble boxes and straps, and even people who have donned Tefillin every weekday for dozens of years are simply astonished by what they have learned on their visit. This tour is highly recommended for pre-teens preparing for their bar-mitzvah, as well as Jews and non-Jews of all ages and religious levels.
A Visit to Beit El May Include:
A tour of Jacob's Rock, where the famous dream took place
A 1,000 year old Wormwood Oak Tree, the oldest of its kind in Israel
Ancient burial caves from the time of the Second Temple
A unique and ancient olive oil factory cave from the Second Temple era
Wine Press Way, featuring two ancient wine presses from the Second Temple era
A breathtaking view of almost all of the Land promised to our forefathers
A visit to the Tefillin Factory
A visit to the boutique Beit El Winery
Archeological site from the time of King Yannai
Havat Ephraim Animal Corner, featuring more than 30 varieties of animals
The Beit El Timeline-Through-The-Ages
A 15-minute film about Beit El
Display and sales of the artwork of local artists at "Jacob's Ladder" Gallery and Gift Shop
And much, much more...
To find out about the next "Tanach Tour Through Time," send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
For More Information
Or to Book a Tour:
Yael Ben Yashar, Beit El Tourism Coordinator
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/beitel.heritage.center