>  Top Tour Destinations in the Shephela   >  Deir Rafat: A Forgotten Monastery in the Judean Foothills

deir-rafat-regina-palaestinaDeir Rafat is a Catholic monastery in the Judean Foothills (the Shephelah), near Beth Shemesh and Biblical Tzora. Established right after the earthquake of 1927, it bears a 20-foot-high sculpture of the Virgin Mary over its church façade to protect the land from future natural disasters. Titled “Reginæ Palæstinæ” (“The Queen of Palestine”), an annual feast in her honor is celebrated in the monastery every year on October 25th. The Monastery once operated a boarding school, an orphanage, and a convent.

Today, the monastery is maintained by the order of the Little Sisters of Bethlehem, and the orphanage functions as a rehabilitation enter for religious Jews (Retorno).

Visiting Deir Rafat Monastery

The monastery is open Monday to Saturday and welcomes visitors from 10:30 to 17:00. A Christian Arab family operates “Mony” winery and olive press on the monastery’s grounds.

A tour of Deir Rafat Monastery can be combined in a guided day tour in the Judean Foothills (the Shephelah).

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