Stories of Jaffa
Stories of JaffaBy Markel YacovStory’s of Jaffa
We are standing here on the Jaffa Hill, or as we say in Hebrew – "TEL" Jaffo. From here we can see the entire Sea Shore. How did Jaffa turn into an important port, and how was this hill created?Sailors were roaming this sea from the dawn of History, and since this harbor with it’s natural bay and water break provided a very good shelter, they used to dock here on the way between Egypt and Syria in order to discharge some of their merchandise and then load on board local products, such as the Jaffa oranges.Before the compass was invented, seamen used to navigate by the sun or by the stars, but whenever there was cloudy weather, they didn’t have any means of telling where they were. Therefore, they used to sail at a very close range to the shore and to keep eye contact with the shore.
From time immemorial, Jaffa, an important strategic point on the highway between Egypt and Syria, was a target of many conquerors. To mention some of them,
Napoleon stayed in Jaffa about one or two nights. The monks here say that this is the room he slept in.
We are now in front of St. Peter’s Church. And as you may know, Jesus had 12 Apostles or rather students- faithful followers.
The miracle was that he brought alive a made named Tabitah. The miracle took place on this spot where we are standing now, and in memory of this event, the Franciscans built here the church and the monastery. This particular building was built on the ruins of an ancient church. The first church was built in 1642 and this one in 1882, donated by the king of Spain. Therefore the church is in Spanish Baroque style.
The Franciscan order is a Christian order started by Franciscus of Assisi and the Franciscans were appointed by the Pope to be the Guardians of the Holly Land.
As you know, on every public house you can always find a sign to whom the building belongs or who built it. It doesn’t matter which religion we’re talking about. Look up and you will see St. Peter’s sign. You see the crown, symbol of the Kingdom of Heaven. You also see the 2 keys. Because St. Peter got the key to heaven from Jesus, he became the “substitute” of Jesus on Earth. Underneath, in the white sign, you can see 5 crosses, which symbolize the Crusaders. The two hands are the symbol of the Franciscan order. One is dressed and the other is bare.
When Franciscus of Assisi arrived to Rome to ask for the Pope’s permission to establish the "Franciscan order", he identified with Jesus so much that he got “DESTIGMATA”. “Destigmata” is the hole in his hand, the hole that was made by the nail when Jesus was crucified to the cross. The bare hand symbolizes Jesus and the other hand symbolizes Franciscus. All churches belonging to the Franciscan order have this sign.
The Jewish House
In 1820 a Jew named Ieshaia Ajiman, arrived to Jaffa, on his way to Jerusalem. He was a rich man who dealt with the Turkish Sultan Army, and he bought a three-floor house for the Jews of Jaffa. This house served as a hostel and a synagogue for the Jews that used to pass thru Jaffa port on the way to Jerusalem. This place was known as the Jewish Court – “Dar el Yahud”.
The Catholic Hostel
We shall continue walking and we shall see a hostel with the Greek orthodox sign. They will never mix, because if for example an orthodox will go into the Franciscan church they will try to convert him and this is of course forbidden in any religion.
The Greek Orthodox Monastery
The House of Simon the Tanner.
Statue of Faith
To the right, Jacob’s dream. GENESIS 28 / 11
To the left, the sacrifice of Isaac. GENESIS 22 / 3
This institution exists in the east ever since the Roman era in Israel. The Hammam used to serve as a meeting place for the male population. All the daily affairs, commerce, personal problems and gossip used to go around while bathing and having sauna being served coffee or treats.