The verdant historic monastery known as Beit Jimal (alternately Beit Jimal or Beit Gemal) has been housing monks for over a century and has also played home to Israel’s first meteorological station for almost as long.
Established around 1878, Beit Jimal began as a school for orphans and the underprivileged. However in 1892, the site was given over to the care of the Salesian monastic order. It was this group of religious devotees who established the meteorological station at the site in 1919. With its roots as an agricultural school, the study of and prediction of the weather must have seemed like a necessary and underserved area of interest to the early 20th century monks.
While modern weather stations have been erected all across Israel, the original in Beit Jimal continues to function and report the conditions. The spacious and serene monastic complex is today also used for concerts and events that take advantage of the picturesque surroundings and ornate historical buildings.