Up high on Mount Zion, in the city of Jerusalem, sits the President’s Room. A small, thick-walled structure on the rooftop of King David’s Tomb, this room crowns the top of the Cenacle, which tradition maintains was the site of the Last Supper.
The President’s Room also represents the closest Jews could get to the Old City of Jerusalem when the city was under Jordanian rule after the Israeli War of Independence. Back then, the Israelis were forbidden from accessing certain places holy to the Jewish faith.
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.
– Psalm 137:5-6
As a result, Mount Zion was a veritable no-man’s-land, and thus became the closest accessible site to the Temple Mount. A local built this domed room on the mountain as a space to read the Torah.
But he wasn’t the only one to drop by the secluded spot. On the holy holidays, Israel’s second president, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, would visit the room to read the Torah and gaze out at Jerusalem, and thus the name “President’s Room” was born.
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. – Psalm 119:97
Today, members of the public are able to visit the room one day each week. Step inside, and you’ll find various bits of paraphernalia representing Jewish communities and culture, from pictures of famous rabbis to books written by Ben-Zvi.
Know Before You Go
The room is open on Monday afternoons between 11:00 and 3:00. There is also a Torah lesson given on Monday evenings, which is open to the public.
Article originally posted on Atlas Obscura.