The community of Yad Hashmonah in the western Judean Mountains, with its hands-on display of ancient farming techniques, burial cave, synagogue and more, can truly be said to have the Bible in its backyard.
Yad Hashmonah was founded in 1971 by Finnish Christians who first made their living as carpenters. Its name means “memorial to the eight,” named after the only eight Jews to lose their lives to the Nazis out of some 2,000 Jewish refugees whom Finland sheltered during the Holocaust.
On a tour of Yad Hashmonah’s Biblical Garden, you’ll see a threshing floor, grape press and olive press, where biblical fruit (Deut. 8:8) is processed in season. You can even try your hand at sheep-shearing and goat-milking! At the mikveh, or ritual bath, you’ll learn about ideas of purification in Jesus’ time. A watchtower, recalling Isaiah’s Song of the Vineyard (5:1-2), is another highlight.
The beautiful sunset glimpsed from the reconstructed synagogue make afternoon visits to the site particularly memorable.