Rambam’s Kever to Undergo $10 Million Renovation


kever-of-rambamThe kever of the Rambam in Tiveriah will be undergoing an elaborate high-tech face-lift.

The renovation, according to the Tiveriah municipality, will include a glass enclosure for the entire kever area, which will house a three-dimensional eternal flame. In addition, a powerful laser beam will emerge from the kever that will reach a height of several kilometers, making it visible from dozens of kilometers away, according to a report in Haaretz.

The initiative is expected to cost about $10 million, much of which will come from foreign donors, according to Haaretz. Only a small part will come from the government, which recently allocated 10 million shekel to repair several tourist sites in Tiveriah.

Rabbi Donniel Hartman, president of Jerusalem’s Shalom Hartman Institute, said that if the intent is to turn the Rambam’s kever into a pilgrimage site on the scale of that of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron, which is visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year, the Rambam would vehemently disagree.

“The idea of sages’ tombs as a bridge between man and God is foreign to the Rambam’s legacy,” Hartman said. “It would be worthy to try to generate a cultural discourse around the site, but to use it as a tourism gimmick is a mistake.”

The initiative was apparently sparked by a visit Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu paid to the kever in late March.

“His universal spirit is tremendous, and we cannot neglect his burial place,” Netanyahu said, during his visit.

According to the municipality, after his visit Netanyahu agreed to help the city give the kever a facelift, promising “to help develop it and turn it into both a tourist and educational site.”

The kever compound indeed looks neglected, with peddlers’ tables greeting visitors. At one point this year, the power to the site was cut because of unpaid electric bills.

Several other noted gedolim are buried nearby, including Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai.

At a ministers’ meeting that preceded the prime minister’s visit to the kever, Netanyahu decided that schoolchildren should make field trips to the Rambam’s kever and asked Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar to include such visits in the school curriculum.

The Rambam was born in Spain in 1135 and passed away in Egypt in 1204.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel/Haaretz contributed to this report}


  1. In the time of the Brisker Rov the anti-frum government attempted to build up the Rambam’s kever by destroying kvorim around it. Let’s hope this isn’t another attempt. These people don’t exactly have a sterling reputauion of Torah respect.

  2. “a powerful laser beam will emerge from the kever that will reach a height of several kilometers, making it visible from dozens of kilometers away”

    Sounds “pas nisht” for one of our all-time gedolei olam, no?…

  3. Yah they love Maimonadies the Doctor. Rabi Yochanan Ben Zakai and others right there are all but ignored…

  4. I wouldn’t say “other gedolim”. the rambam was from the greatest rishonim. Rabbi yochanan ben zakai was a Tanna!!! As well as many other Tannaim buried there. The rambam was zoche to be buried in a bais hakvaros of many great Tannaim.

  5. I suspect the laser beam is supposed to mimic a pillar of fire.
    Rabbeinu Binyamin of Tudela z”l reports from his travels in medieval times that he and anyone who visited (including Arabs) saw a pillar of fire rise into the heavens from graves of Yechezkel HaNavi and other Neviim.

  6. What a chillul Hashem.
    We respect kevarim, we don’t venerate them.
    I’m sure the Rambam himself would be completely aghast at $10 million being spent this way when there are thousands of Jewish women trapped in Muslim villages, extremely ill people in desperate need of expensive medication and surgery, and thousands of poor. Hospitals here need major upgrades. And what about schools? Frum schools are overcrowded and a lot of secular schools suffer from crime and abysmal test scores.

    The Church does things like this, building a priest’s palace in Mexico, which has so many impoverished. Or a Muslim king shelling out for gold plating on the Dome of the Rock when he has thousands of countrymen sitting in refugee camps.

  7. I think the idea of making the Rambam’s kever more respectable is a great one. The laser beam concept may be presented here out of context. I don’t know what the final design will look like, but if it works with the decor (remember that many sefardim use blue lights in their decor in shuls and mekomos hakedoshim) and makes it easier to locate for those who are visiting, this could be a good idea.