Nestled in the Judean Hills 12 miles west of Jerusalem is Yad Hashmona, a unique community of believers. At Yad Hashmona Israeli followers of Yeshua (Jesus) live communally in a “moshav,” a collective settlement. Yad Hashmona was founded in 1971 by Finnish settlers as a memorial (yad) honoring the memory of the eight (hashmona) Finnish Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
Yad Hashmona is located in north Judah on a hilltop surrounded by deep wadis.
Bird’s-eye view of Moshav Yad Hashmona from the southeast. (Photo courtesy of Yad Hashmona)
To provide income for the settlement, members of Yad Hashmona established a tourist center that includes hotel accommodations and a “Biblical Village.” In addition, the moshav’s members cater weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays and other celebrations.
The guest houses are visible in the center of the next photo. The Biblical Garden is partly visible at left.
Here is a close-up of one of the guest houses in winter (constructed of Finnish pine).
The Biblical Garden brings the Bible to life. For visitors, it’s a hands-on experience. The garden includes authentic reconstructions of a watchtower, threshing floor, wine presses, olive presses, a rock-hewn burial tomb that contains ancient sarcophaguses and ossuaries, a mikveh (ritual immersion pool), and more.
The Biblical Garden includes several winepresses and these olive presses.
The crowning jewel of the garden is a fourth-century Galilean synagogue that was dismantled stone by stone and moved to the moshav by the Israel Antiquities Authority. It’s the only ancient Galilean synagogue outside the Galilee!
The ruins of the ancient Galilean synagogue overlook the coastal plain of Israel.
Visitors can see how people in biblical times buried the dead.
The watchtower affords a splendid view of the entire area.
David and my son, Natan, and daughter-in-law, Liat, and their four sons, are members of the moshav. Recently, David and I also became residents of the moshav. Here, the red arrow points to our small, but cozy, apartment.
On your next visit to the Holy Land, be sure to visit Yad Hashmona. Perhaps spend a few nights in one of the moshav’s lovely mountaintop cabins—the view is breathtaking! And while you’re there, be sure to take a guided tour of the Biblical Garden, a step into the past.