In a few weeks, another theoretical conference of the Megalim Institute, from the City of David, will open at the Ramat Rachel Hotel. The conference, intended for those seeking knowledge and lovers of Jerusalem, will deal with a variety of topics related to ancient Jerusalem and Jerusalem in general. In preparation for the event, we have collected a selection of impressive lectures that are expected to be given to the audience in attendance.

Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau: "Every city has a moment of birth" - the birth of the Jerusalem - above

Rabbi Lau is the head of the “929” Bible study project, an educator who has taught and teaches at various and diverse institutions, an author and lecturer. He holds a doctorate from Bar Ilan University, and his doctoral thesis deals with the halachic method of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He served as a rabbi of a synagogue and community in Jerusalem for 18 years. His uncle is Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel.

Rabbi Lau will discuss the birth of Jerusalem, the capital, in his lecture – a birth which caused a great upheaval amidst tensions between the kingdoms of heaven and earth. He will tell how King David was required to find the balance between heaven and earth, and outline the pattern of the connection of Jerusalem for all the generations after him – which always rests on both.

הרב בני לאו

Sara Barnea: The story of the "silent tombstones" of the victims of hostilities buried on the Mount of Olives

After many years in teaching positions across the education system, Sara Barnea joined the City of David training team, and quickly became a senior teacher. Barnea does a lot of research on the history of the Mount of Olives, and is involved in uncovering dozens of fascinating stories about those buried in the ancient cemetery.

In her lecture, Barnea will talk about the victims of hostilities from Jerusalem and the surrounding area, who were murdered before the establishment of the State, and whose graves were destroyed during the Jordanian rule. For many years, the tombstones remained unknown and “silent”, even though it was known who was buried beneath, until in recent years they were restored by a City of David initiative. During the lecture, Barnea will recount some of the stories that remained buried in the depths of the grave for many years, and will explain why the tombstones were forgotten for such a long time.

Dr. Hagai Misgav: How to interpret and how not to interpret ancient inscriptions

Dr. Misgav is a lecturer in Biblical and Israel studies at the Hebrew University, Herzog College, and Givat Washington College. He is involved in the sorting of inscriptions and engravings of signs and letters, research into them, and in the study of writing and its graphic development. He has made several fascinating discoveries, including that of the earliest pottery written in the Hebrew language.

In his lecture, Dr. Misgav will present several examples of the difficulties in interpreting ancient inscriptions, and will describe successes and failures in this field. He will pepper the talk with famous and less famous stories about the interpretation of ancient inscriptions.

Jerusalem Learning Experience Conference 2019. Photo: Eliyahu Yanai

Nitzan Shalom: Between Memory and Reality - Innovations in Understanding the Destruction of the City by the Babylonians

Nitzan Shalom is a doctoral student in the Department of Archeology at Tel Aviv University. In the past, she managed excavation sites at Tel Azkah and the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David, and as part of her doctoral thesis, she is investigating the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

In her lecture, Shalom will present a study that re-examines the layers remaining from the events of the Babylonian destruction, and offers a more detailed reconstruction of the nature of the destruction in the various parts of the city, the various factors that influenced the remaining archaeological evidence, and the consequences of the event on life in the city.

ניצן שלום

Tamar Hayardeni: Things you didn't know about the Jaffa Gate

Tamar Hayardeni, who has a master’s degree in Israel Studies and Jewish Studies, is a veteran teacher who has written several books on the Land of Israel and Jerusalem. In recent years she has been engaged in research, writing, and guiding tours on these topics.

In her lecture, the Jordanian will speak about innovations and discoveries at the Jaffa Gate, indeed one of the most visited sites in Jerusalem, but one that many do not know basic details about. Among other things, she will reveal what the strange triangle engraved on the gate is to the audience, and further, what the confused verse embedded in it is, who really breached the section of the wall next to it, the two wall engineers buried next to it, and more.

Expanding Horizons

In addition to the lectures, there will also be guided tours led by the best City of David guides. The tours will pass through different points that tell the story of Jerusalem through the ages – each from its own unique angle. One of the tours will even deal with the innovations coming to us for the better, the highlight amongst them being the hanging bridge over the Valley of Hinnom, which is due to be opened to the public soon.

So, if you want to learn more about a variety of topics related to Jerusalem, and expand your knowledge about the capital city – your place is with us at the conference. The lectures, which examine various issues related to Jerusalem from broad perspectives from the worlds of history, the Bible, archaeology, poetry and literature, are expected to be a valuable and meaningful experience for you.

The premises where the lectures will be held is accessible to people with disabilities, so everyone can enjoy the conference without difficulty.