Beit Immanuel Congregation and Guest House


 

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Post Card from 1901 with Beit Immanuel Building
The Heritage Centre

Beit Immanuel, represents a movement dating back to the 1800's dedicated to Aliyah (return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel), and the restoration and proclamation of the Messianic Jewish hope in Yeshua (Jesus.)

Following the outbreak of the French Revolution many Christians in Britain, America, and Europe sensed the time was approaching when Jesus the Messiah would return. They understood from the Bible that the prior to His second coming, Israel would return to her Land.

In the 1820's a British organization associated with the Anglican Church (LJS, today CMJ) came to the Land of Israel to proclaim this message and promote Aliyah. Most of the early workers landed at Jaffa, and in 1844 opened a centre in Jaffa's Old City.

Conference at the Heritage Centre Then in September 1866 a group of American Christians belonging to "The Church of Messiah" arrived to Jaffa. They came in hope of assisting the return of the Jewish people to the Land and imminent return of the Messiah.

Most of the American group departed during 1867-8. At the same period a German group known as the Templers (Die Tempel Gemeinde) came to the Land of Israel and took over many of the American buildings. They also established colonies in Haifa and Jerusalem.

The Templers turned Beit Immanuel into their national headquarters and a school, and also added the two stone wings onto the original structure.

On the west side is the Jerusalem Hotel. Just beyond it is one of the wooden American houses that was purchased in 1867 by the LJS and became the centre of their activities in the city.

In 1878 the Russian born Baron Plato Von Ustinov (who had become a Bible believing Protestant Christian) purchased Beit Immanuel. Baron Ustinov built a third floor and carried out other major renovations dedicated to harmonizing the various architectural designs of the building. He turned it into no less than a Russian palace.

In 1882 hundreds of destitute Jewish refugees from Russia landed at Jaffa. Many of these were assisted by Moritz Hall, a Jewish believer in Jesus, at the LJS building, and by Baron Ustinov in his hospital.

In 1888 Ustinov married Magdalena, the daughter of Hall. Magdalena was born in Ethiopia and together they had four children, their eldest son Joah being the father of actor Peter Ustinov.

The Baron's palace not only became the focal point of the German colony, but indeed the city of Jaffa. He established exotic gardens under the supervision of the first graduate of Mikve Israel, the original school of agriculture in modern Israel. Several of the plants and trees you in our garden today are part of these famous gardens. People came from far and wide to visit on Shabbat and holidays. One such visitor was Baron Rothschild, who so liked what he saw that he 'took' Ustinov's gardener.

Between 1895 and 1914 part of this building became the Hotel du Parc operated by the brothers Ustinov's second wife. During this time, on 27 October 1898, the German Emperor Kaiser Wilheim II stayed here while on his visit to Jerusalem.

The Ustinovs left in 1913. Later the building became known as the Park Hotel, and remained so until taken over by CMJ in 1926. CMJ turned the building into the English High School for girls. Up to 240 Jewish, Moslem and Christian girls studied here.

During the British Mandate the property was temporarily taken over by the British Army and the Palestine Police. Meanwhile during World War Two, CMJ used the German Church opposite for services. A number of the Templers living in Jaffa were Nazi sympathizers and were deported by the British to Australia.

During the fight for Israeli statehood this area was often in the firing line, and the school was relocated in 1947. After May 1948 and the British withdrawal, the Israeli Army took over Beit Immanuel, strategically located on a hill between the Arab and Jewish populations.

In 1954 the Israeli Army returned the building to CMJ. Changes were later made, with the Anglican congregation moving out. In the 1970's a Hebrew speaking congregation of Messianic Jews and Arabs began meeting and worshipping at the site. Later other congregations began worshipping here as well.


Beit Immanuel, Auerbach st. 8, Jaffa. P.O.Box 2773, Tel Aviv 61027, Israel. Phone (972) 3-6821459 Fax (972) 3-6829817
 All the rights reserved to Beit Immanuel Ministries 2004.
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