GREEN PILGRIM JERUSALEM
EIN KAREM PROJECT
The Green Pilgrim team is working with the Ein Karem committee and other stakeholders to develop a vision for Ein Karem as a pilgrimage destination. In the light of the many challenges currently threatening the serene ambiance of the village, our main goal is to conserve of the unique character of Ein Karem, alongside investment in much-needed infrastructure. This process was initially supported by the Roman Catholic Custodia in the Holy Land, through the JGF. It is presently being supported by Shi An Culture.
In recent years the intrinsic value of Ein Karem, as a valuable tourist destination, with a rich natural and built heritage, has been increasingly appreciated. Its fame as a pilgrimage destination comes from “Mary’s Spring”, one of the most important Christian Holy Sites, where the pregnant Mary Magdalene met her cousin Elizabeth, and according to Christian tradition sang the Magnificat, telling about the life of the birth and life of Jesus that was to unfold. However, over the last few decades there has been an alarming lack of coordination among the many entities involved with the planning, management and maintenance of Ein Karem.
Gross mismanagement of traffic flow, garbage disposal, signage, physical planning, maintenance of public gardens, are only a few of the problems. Inappropriate development has encroached on the scenic basin surrounding Ein Karem, where agricultural terraces from Biblical times are still to be found. For the Christian Pilgrim, Ein Karem is not only beautiful, but also holy. By preserving the beauty of Ein Karem we enhance the pilgrim’s experience, and thereby demonstrate respect for the worldwide Christian community.
Naomi Tsur, former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, and Chair of the Jerusalem Green Fund, is heading the “Green Pilgrim Jerusalem” team in a strategic process of consultation with all the stakeholders, which will prepare the way for the sustainable development of Ein Karem, according to guidelines that will have been agreed on by all.
The Christian institutions of Ein Karem have been invited to join the process, led by the Custodia, appointed by the Vatican to protect sacred sites in the Holy Land. At the end of the planned vision-building process, which should take from 12 – 18 months, we will have a clearer picture of the future investment needed for Ein Karem. The Custodia has come on board as an investor in this initial process, and commitments have been made by some residents of Ein Karem.
We currently seek additional support, to develop the potential of Ein Karem, when viewed through the prism of Green Pilgrimage.