Motza is first mentioned in the Talmud (Tractate Succah) as the place where residents of Jerusalem used to cut their willow branches as one of the four species of fruits and plants required for the Festival of Sukkot. Motza was rediscovered in 1860, when Shlomo Yecheskel and Yehoshua Yellin, residents of the Old City of Jerusalem, jointly acquired a plot of land in order to initiate and develop agriculture outside the walls of the Old City. Vineyards and trees were planted while using the local spring and well.
Motza played an important role in the renewal of the Jewish Yishuv in Eretz-Yisrael. It was recognized as such by Theodore Herzl, who planted a tree there during his one and only visit to Eretz-Yisrael, in 1898. This tree is affectionately referred to as the Motza Cedar Tree.
The Site Plan
The Yellin House on the Yellin Estate is comprised of three rooms with a large basement. Through the generous support of Leonard Kahn, JNF and the Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites is restoring the building and the surrounding area.
The building will house an exhibition of the history of Motza, a convention center and a Lecture Hall for the local community. The courtyard is being cleaned and an attempt is being made to reconstruct the water systems and connect them to the wells of the estate. Crusader remains have been discovered in the courtyard and they will be excavated and protected as antiquities.
The Estate will be open to local residents and visitors and to access its orchards, courtyard and surrounding wells. Collectively they will serve as the entrance to a large metropolitan park, which is in its planning stages.
Get involved and Donate to Yellin House. For naming opportunities call your local office at 888-JNF-0099.