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Monday, December 10, 2007

East Jerusalem: Queen Helene's Mansion Unearthed

(Image Credit: Ron Peled, via Ynet News)

It looks as if Queen Helene's mansion has been discovered in a parking lot located in eastern Jerusalem.

While her mention may draw scratching heads from some, Queen Helene played a minor role in Jerusalem's history, not only as a woman who helped feed the poor, but also regarding Jerusalem's temple.

(Ynet News) Josephus and Jewish texts, Helene was from a royal clan that ruled Adiabene, a region now in northern Iraq. Along with her family, she converted to Judaism and came to Jerusalem in the first half of the first century A.D.

Helene merited grateful mention in the Mishna, the written version of Judaism's oral tradition, where she is praised for her generosity to Jerusalem's poor and for making contributions to the Second Temple, the center of the Jewish faith, which was just a few hundred meters (yards) uphill from her house. She was buried in an elaborate tomb not far away.

The discovery of Helene's mansion helps cement the idea that Jerusalem was (and still is) a Jewish city about 2,000 years ago, around the time that Jesus Christ appeared on the scene.

Hopefully Bush will take note of this, as he is planning on visiting Israel for a few days next month.

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