Teddy Park Historical House Dedicated in Jerusalem
The structure that was restored in Teddy Park in Jerusalem unveils the city’s rich history.
On October 22, KKL-JNF held a ceremony inaugurating the restoration of a historical structure at Teddy Park in Jerusalem, at the foot of the wall surrounding the Old City. The building was restored thanks to the support of JNF Canada. The ceremony took place in the presence of a 30-person delegation from JNF Canada, including the donors of this project.
The structure that was restored in Teddy Park in Jerusalem unveils the city’s rich history. It includes a Roman-era water cistern, magnificent public buildings from the Byzantine Era, and a commercial center from the early 20th century.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, and we are very excited to be part of its development,” said Lance Davis, JNF Canada CEO. “As the process of urbanization increases in Israel, there is greater and greater need for green spaces. Teddy Park is a meeting place for the entire mosaic of Israeli society.”
The approximately thirty members of the JNF delegation from all over Canada, who are currently visiting Israel, participated in the dedication ceremony of the new site. They arrived in Israel for ten days of tours, meetings and becoming acquainted with life-changing projects that were realized with the supports of JNF Canada. The delegation entered Teddy Park through the Walls Gate, which is named for Etel and Benjamin Wolf, of blessed memory, and which was donated by the Pash and Zenith families from Calgary, Canada.
“I stand here and imagine my parents talking with Teddy Kollek, the legendary mayor of Jerusalem, and discussing the challenges that the state of Israel is facing,” said Helen Zenith, who, together with her sister Giezelle Pash, donated the majestic entrance to the park, which is named for her parents.
“You are our partners, and you make it possible for us to do amazing things,” said Ronnie Vinnikov, Executive Director of the KKL-JNF Resource Development Division, to the guests. “The preservation of historical structures attests to the Jewish presence that was here throughout all the generations.”
Teddy Park is situated at the foot of the Old City of Jerusalem, near Jaffa Gate, and it connects between the area of Mamilla, the Jerusalem House of Quality galleries, and the Yemin Moshe neighborhood. It spreads out over an area of about two acres and includes a visitor’s center, which tells the story of the building of modern Jerusalem, along with archaeological remains, historical structures, a well-manicured garden, environmental sculptures, a sundial and a wishing well. A unique water fountain show using rhythmic geysers and lights attracts a lot of visitors, including children who love running through the water jets.
The ancient structure was built in the higher part of the Ben Hinom Valley, at the edge of what is now the Mamilla shopping center. It is known as the House in the Ben Hinom Valley. It used to be a center of commerce, and the owners were Christians from Germany, Arabs and Jews.
After 1948, the complex was in a political no-man’s land, and the structure was ruined and covered by dirt. The unique historical site was uncovered about a decade ago by the Jerusalem Foundation, during the work to create Teddy Park.
“This unique house tells the story of the initial venturing out of the Jewish neighborhoods that were inside the walls of the Old City during modern times, a less-known chapter of the history of Jerusalem,” explained Nomi Yehoshua, Chief Development Officer of the Jerusalem Foundation.
The support of JNF Canada made the development of this historical site and opening it up to the general public possible. Donors included Ruth Freeman, who said that the “combination of archaeology and a beautiful park that is open to everyone is the perfect match as far as I’m concerned.”
Faye Minuk, Former President of JNF Toronto, noted that “contributing to such a beautiful park in the heart of Jerusalem is my way of saying thank-you to Israel and to KKL-JNF.”
Teddy Park is a good example of the work being done by KKL-JNF and its friends throughout in the world, which connects between past, present and future. The dedication ceremony of the historical structure was moderated by KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson, who emphasized that “Teddy Park is a meeting place for all sectors of the Israeli populace. You can see here how religious and secular and Jewish and Arab children all play here together.”
Young musicians from the Jerusalem Music Conservatory performed during the ceremony, including young immigrants from Ethiopia and Russia.
KKL-JNF’s Canadian Desk Director Sharon Geva summed it up: “KKL-JNF is proud to be a partner in designing the face of the state of Israel, and to be a bridge between our brothers and sisters throughout the world and Israel.”
To see more photos from the inauguration ceremony, click here.