Monday, July 20, 2009

Talitha Kumi

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This busy intersection is on King George Street in central Jerusalem.
But when Talitha Kumi was built in 1867 it was in the middle of nowhere.
It was one of the first buildings to be built outside the Old City's protective wall.
It was founded as a home for orphaned Arab girls, later developing into a girls’ boarding school.
These are some of the Deaconess Sisters who cared for and taught the girls.

The photo is from the website of the modern, and now co-ed, Talitha Kumi School run by the Evangelical Lutherans.
In 1961 the School moved to Beit Jala, a Christian village outside Bethlehem, in the West Bank.


Enlarge this photo above to see the peace dove with olive branch, the symbol of the Deaconesses.

These windows, the chimney, and part of the facade were saved when Old Talitha Kumi was demolished in 1980.
The three elements were erected here, 50 meters from the original site.
That we may remember.


The plaque explains that German architect (and explorer) Conrad Schick (who designed so much of 19th century Jerusalem) incorporated European academic style with Eastern motifs for this unique building.

I was surprised to learn from this vintage photograph that the arch with the clock was actually on the upper level.
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If you open your New Testament to Mark 5:41, no matter what language your Bible is in, you will probably see the Aramaic words talitha, kumi.
 It means "Little girl, arise."
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Dr. Georg Dürr, principal of the school, writes this in his welcome to the nice website:

The name of the institution has been linked with the story of the resurrection of that little girl from the dead, the Evangelist Mark writes: "And Jesus took the damsel by the hand and said to her "Talitha Kumi" which means "Little Girl I say unto thee arise." 
The name itself has turned into a commitment for us. It's a word that calls for life. A word that fills someone's heart with courage and make him look at the future with hope and optimism. We prepare our students to face life with courage and self-confidence. . . .
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18 comments:

Ebie said...

Your world is interesting and beautiful. And for the place dedicated as a home for orphans. Thanks for sharing.

Jack and Joann said...

I like the explanation of the words from the bible. Very inspiring.

ewok1993 said...

You have one of the most fascinating historically significant worlds. I would love to visit some day.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

That is very cool. Thanks for drawing attention to the dove detail and the story from Mark.

Petrea said...

Nicely researched and interesting story. You're the architectural detective now.

FA said...

"Talitha Kumi" Yes, I recognized that phrase immediately...of course, I know it from the N.T. passage that you referenced. I'm impressed that you would refer to that.

I always enjoy when this gospel comes around in our cycle because I can proclaim "talitha kum" (the way it's spelled in our lectionary) with strength and conviction - the way Jesus would have said it.

Yaelian said...

What an interesting posting again! I have never heard of this place before.BTW,just yesterday I visited Jerusalem for the first time in 5 years!

jeannette stgermain said...

Glad that they renovated part of it as a remembrance! Any good deed if worth a token of remembrance! Thanks you for sharing, Dina:)

Nazzareno said...

Difficult to conciliate the progress and the history, because the history of people is made of many things, also of a school that the progress stretches to cancel.

ical said...

Great place to visit. I hope got a chance to go there someday!

Robin said...

How fascinating. I love the way they chose to preserve the elements of the facade.

Reader Wil said...

Very beautiful post Dina! It's very interesting to read what's going on in the rest of the world. I had an unmarried aunt who was a deaconess. She worked in a hospital.

Arija said...

I do hope the orphanage was kinder to the inmates than its English counterparts. Nice historical post.

Turquoise Diaries said...

Lovely photos and very interesting history

Pietro said...

What an interesting post, Dina. Thanks for sharing this very important information. The Deaconess Sisters remind me of the unforgettable St Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) of Lourdes, who spent the last years of her life, in great suffering (she died 35 years old), in the convent of Nevers. The Virgin Mary, during the 18 apparitions in 1858, told her: "I don't promise to make you happy in this world but in the other".

Sara said...

Your post title drew me in, as I recognize those words and what they mean....you piqued my curiosity. I enjoyed reading your post.

mkreider said...

Very informative blog, great photos!

crystal said...

Nice that they were able to save part of the facade from the older structure. I have always liked that story about Jesus and the little girl :)