New exhibition on Healing in Jerusalem’s David’s Tower

When you combine ancient medicines, miracles and faith – you get a fascinating remedy in the form of the new exhibition now on display at the Tower of DavidL Jerusalem: A Medical Diagnosis. With a view of Jerusalem through the lens of medicine and faith, the exhibit curated by Dr. Nirit Shalev-Khalifa, takes a look at the constant human struggle of a healthy life through the unique context of the holy city of Jerusalem.

The exhibit begins thousands of years ago – from the time of King David and King Hezekiah and continues up to the modern history of Hadassah and Shaare Zedek hospitals. Medicine in Jerusalem has always been a sequence of apostasy, sickness and epidemic intersected by an overriding story of healing, miracles and faith. This extensive exhibition draws inspiration from stories and medical cases, from doctors and pharmacies in the Old City and the new city, and from the many exhibits that are being shown to the public for the first time. The exhibition looks at the partnerships and contradictions found in the space between miracles and medicine.

Starting up in the Phasael Tower, and passing through the herb garden in the citadel’s courtyard, and ending in the Crusader Hall, “Jerusalem: A Medical Diagnosis” recounts the uses and types of cures that have survived from Biblical times and reports on how sickness and plague have changed the fate of history. It shows how the holiness and status of Jerusalem brought streams of pilgrims, priests, scholars and travelers to its gates. Many of them needed medical services while others provided medical relief. It focuses on the cures that were invented along with wonder drugs (a pre-cursor to the antibiotic) and potions. It also narrates the wars of faith and missionary activity in the 19th century and early 20th century which ironically led to the establishment of hospitals and clinics: a sanatorium established by the London Society for promoting Christianity Among the Jews, Marienstift Children’s Hospital, Meyer Rothschild Hospital – first Jewish hospital outside the Old City, Bikur Holim, English Mission Hospital and the Italian Hospital. The positive outcome was the establishment of hospitals that made Jerusalem a center of advanced medicine. In a city that has always been divided by religions, today doctors and nurses of different faiths work side by side together treating patients from all backgrounds.

Exhibits have been brought from around the world and many are being shown to the public for the first time at the Tower of David Museum. Among the artifacts are photo albums from the Rothschild Archives in England, an x-ray machine dating back to the 1920s, the door knocker from the Order of St John’s hospital (lent by the Order of St John in London) which according to belief came from the original Crusader hospital, record books from Shaare Zedek, lotions and potions, diaries of nurses and doctors from the early 20th century, cuddly toys from 1908 that made children smile despite their illness. Every artifact tells a distinct story.

You are invited to embark on an absorbing journey through the citadel along the paths of the medical story of Jerusalem and discover a city fighting for its life, on a continuum traversed by apostasy and faith, plagues and miracles, sickness and healing.

The exhibition is presented in two galleries:
Part One – The Miracle and the Plague and the Historical Apothecary in Phasael Tower
Part Two – The Physicians’ Wisdom and Medical Mercy in the Crusader Hall

In the courtyard there is a special exhibit of traditional remedies and spices brought from the Old City markets. An array of traditional herbs can be found in the Herb Garden.

The breathtaking lookout point on the top of Phasael Tower, where the old city meets the new, concludes the visitor experience to the exhibition and the Tower of David, the gateway to Jerusalem, then and now.

As part of the on-going events surrounding the exhibition, there will be walking tours that use the exhibition as a platform to explore the secrets of medicine in Jerusalem in and around the Old City on Friday mornings.

Museum opening hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 09:00 – 16:00 Friday and Saturday: 09:00 – 14:00

For more information and reservations: / 02-6265333 / *2884

Exhibition Closing: April 2015

Source: OCP