Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Modi’in, Old and New

Posted by kneidalach on November 19, 2007

I got a message on myspace, that goes like this:

Kneidalach, shalom and chag sukkot sameach. My name is Matt and we have never met before. I found your profile while searching for info on Modiin, as I am doing an article on the ancient and modern city, in time for Hanukkah. I noticed that you are from there (assuming that it is the Modiin I am thinking of). How long did you live there? Would you be able to tell me a little bit about what your life was like growing up, and whether you noticed the huge growth in the town? Thank you very much, and btw, I like your photos!

Hi Matt,
ModiinI did live in the Modiin.
It is a young and beautiful city, only about 10 years old.
Its general appearance on a would be of residential town built with shiny white Jerusalem stone. It’s a very clean city with parks, schools, and shopping centers. It seems like the city was built for young, middle class families, and it seemed like there was as many kids as dogs.
It’s a very fresh city. When we moved in the sidewalks were still under construction, everything was just being built, new people moving in, new schools were opening every other year, the downtown was in grand plans, life was emerging!
On one avenue, “Emek Ayalon”, if going from the end to beginning, you start with a nice relaxing park that has an artificial creek, a bridge, and was used mainly to walk dogs.
Next, you see an elementary school “HaYovel” which I attended grades 4th through 6th. It was called so because it was founded on the 50th anniversary of the state of Israel (1997).
Next, there was a huge playground, maybe about 200 yards long, but I’m speaking from memory. It had lots of different kinds of slides, swings, carousels, monkey bars- a dream place for parents to meet their fellow comrades. Families would meet there, and great friendships arose.
Next, is a nice shopping center, “Modi’in Center” that really, besides groceries, pizza, Falafel and some nonsense gifts, you couldn’t get anything. Oops, we had ice cream 😀
That’s the end of Emek Ayalon (actually, there is a scouts house located a bit further), but if you turn right, and go up the hill, you would be on the border of the urban modern city, and the old, uncovered ruins of thousands of years.
On your right, there would be 2-3 story high condo houses, and on your left there is the hill called “Givaat HaTitora”
if you walk to it (there is a path, and a water plant on top), and know where to look, you Rectangular Hasmonean era stones can see a hand carved inside a stone, said to be done around the 19th century. Well, that’s sort of modern. There are Mikvahs from about Bar Kokhva time. There is a patch of Roman Mosaic with some water ‘baskets’ for sheep and cattle. They also say that people have inhabited continuosly this area since the bronze age. There are some wells you throw stones in and check how deep they are (great physics problem!). There are remains of “Beit Bad”- a place where they used to manufacture olive oil. Oh, and of course there are remains of a winery, if you ever had a doubt.There are outlines of houses who knows from what era, there is a little fort from about middle ages. Crusader watchtower which was built on top of ruins dating from the Hasmonean periodYou can go up the stairs and sit and view on the area. Once I found a decorated piece of a ceramic pipe, and the tour guide told me it’s from the middle ages, and I remember I was rather disappointed. Just the middle ages??
I still feel guilty for keeping it.
And on this hill I officially had my first date in 5th grade 🙂
And it’s a very accessible site, and I hope one day they will work on preserving it, and build a museum. Unfortunately, in Israel there is never has enough money for anything, and hills like that are not a rare occurrence in the Holy Land.

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