Archive for January, 2011

Good News According To Tabitha in Tel Aviv

January 19, 2011
blog_714.jpgTel Aviv Municipality named seven new neighborhoods this week, one of which was after a New Testament figure, Tabitha, well known for her charitable works, and whom Peter raised from the dead. The neighborhood is situated adjacent to the Russian Orthodox church in the southern part of the city, next to Jaffa and very  near the Tel Aviv Botanical Garden. The  grave of Tabitha is also located in this area of the city.

The importance of Tabitha is mentioned in the New Testament in the story of Peter.

Peter was summoned from Lydda (modern-day Lod) to Jaffa, upon the death of Tabitha, known far and wide for her charitable works: “But Peter … kneeled down, and prayed: and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa [Jaffa]; and many believed in the Lord.”    Acts 9: 36-42,(40-42).

For the Christian visitor to Tel Aviv, what is arguably the most significant reference to Jaffa is the Vision of St. Peter (Acts 10: 1-48). Jaffa is an important Christian site that is generally included in Christian pilgrimage itineraries  because of its connection to St. Peter.

“And he [Simon Peter] became very hungry and would have eaten; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance. And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth. Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth and wild beasts and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him. Rise Peter; kill and eat. And the voice spake unto him again the second time. What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” Acts 10:1-48, (10-15)
In selecting Tabitha, the city sought to emphasize the Christian connection to Israel’s largest city, and hopes to draw Christian tourists to spend more time in Tel Aviv.

“This is one of the two holiest places in Jaffa for Christians from all over the world,” committee member and geographer Gideon Biger said, the other holy place being the House of Simon the Tanner in Jaffa’s old city. “We thought it proper to give Tel Aviv a Christian-tourism component as well, to try to show that Tel Aviv is cosmopolitan and not just Jewish.”