Salvation as a way of life – a visit to an Jerusalem institution that is all about compassion and love

Salvation as a way of life – a visit to an Jerusalem institution that is all about compassion and love

At a time when monasteries and churches throughout the Middle East are being destroyed, bombarded, obliterated or turned into warehouses, the Israeli government chose to turn one of the symbols of interfaith kinship, peace and compassion, founded by the German Diakonisches Werk order (one of the initial founders of modern-day convalescent care), into a living and lively museum and center for interfaith artistic creation.


The Hansen House, as it has been called for many years, and known as the Jesus Hilfe hospital before that, is situated on the outskirts of the Talbia neighborhood, and is sprawled out across a wide area that includes water wells, gardens and orchards, as well as structures that served as hospital rooms for lepers. Nuns from the order concerned themselves with gathering those ill with the disease from all corners of Jerusalem, and eventually from the whole country, even from abroad. With their tenacity and abundant compassion, the nuns were able to cure or improve the lives of the afflicted, whom nobody wished to tend for, those sick with leprosy. We are not speaking of the infamous biblical leprosy, but rather a different illness that, over hundreds of years, made those sick with it outcasts from society. This was especially apparent in the city of Jerusalem.


Every pilgrim entering the city's gates in the 18th century and beforehand, was "welcomed" by beggars suffering from leprosy, whose wretchedness impelled the establishment of the first hospital (today, the US Consulate on Agron Street), and later on the hospital called by the same name, but capable of treating more patients.


A visit to the Hansen House will also let you stroll amongst all those spectacular sites that include the Templer neighborhood In the German Colony, the mansions strewn about the quarters, the San Simone monastery and the well-known, ancient monastery in the Valley of the Cross, all of which are within reasonable walking distance from one another.


Before You Go