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Hebrew University of Jerusalem Highlights

My Hebrew University

Not surprisingly, my alma mater is the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – but not on Mount Scopus. When I was an undergraduate (in Hebrew Hamor Noseh Sefarim i.e. A Donkey Carrying Books) the campus was on Givat Ram, across the valley from the Knesset. The original campus on Mount Scopus was something we could only see from the roof of the Histadrut Labor Union building on Strauss Street and only dream about returning there. It was a miracle that my generation was lucky enough to participate in the return of the Jewish people to its historical homeland, including returning to Har HaTzofim.

Mount Scopus

The Mount of Spectators (Har HaTzofim, جبل المشارف, הר הצופים ) is one of the few places where one can view both the Dead Sea and the Temple Mount, and is actually the northern most part of the Mount of Olives ridge. Here the  Hebrew University was founded in 1925 and the original Hadassah Medical Center in 1939. The Hebrew U., standing across the head of the Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount, can be regarded as the secular symbol of Zionist Movement. Between 1948 to 1967 Har Ha Tzofim was an Israeli enclave in Jordan. Mount Scopus hosts the Jerusalem branch of the Mormon Brigham Young University, the Augusta Victoria pilgrims’ hospice and a cemetery for British soldiers killed in the Middle Eastern campaigns of the First World War.

Ussishkin and Nicanor

On Mount Scopus one can visit the many Jewish burial caves used during the Period of the Second Temple. The most famous grave cave is that of family of Nicanor, who donated the famous gates of the Holy Temple. This cave is found in the Botanical Gardens, the first in Jerusalem. Nicanor’s ossuary was identified by the inscription “Nicanor the door maker”. Nicanor is mentioned in both the Talmud and by Josephus Flavius. Menachem Ussishkin, one of the leaders of the Zionist Movement dreamed of a creating a national pantheon on Mount Scopus in the Nicanor caves. However, only Leon Pinsker was buried there in 1934 and, of course, the modest Ussishkin himself in 1941.

HUJI – Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Hebrew U. is the oldest university in Israel. In fact it was founded even before there was a Jewish state. The dream of founding a Jewish university goes way back to the proto-Zionist Hovevei Zion Movement in Europe.

The cornerstone ceremony was held in 1918. A full seven years later, in 1925, the Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus was officially opened. The opening ceremony was attended by the leaders of the Jewish world and British dignitaries, including the Earl of Balfour, Viscount Allenby and Sir Herbert Samuel.

Founders Wall


Hebrew University of Jerusalem


The Rothberg Amphitheater, Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel

The opening ceremony was held were the Rothberg Amphitheater now stands with the dramatic view of the Dead Sea.

About Israel and You

Cameling in the holy land since forever
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