Beit Jala

Introduction: Beit Jala is a small town near Bethlehem, with inhabitants not exceeding ten thousand: 70% are Christians and the rest are Muslims. Along with Bethlehem and Beit Sahour, Beit Jala forms a triangle where many Christians live. It is believed that the name Beit Jala is derived from the Syriac word Calla, meaning, collection of stones. While others think that it is derived from another word, Gyliwa which means happiness. This name is mentioned in the Holy Bible. History tells us that people began to live in Beit Jala when Christianity was spreading widely. Saint Nicola, in the 5th century, spent all his life in a small cave where a church has been built recently. Saint Theodosius came to Beit Jala, for prayer only, and settled near a place called Kathisma or Qadismo well that lies in Jerusalem-Bethlehem road.

Latin Patriarchate: The Latin Patriarchate School was the first school opened in the town in 1854. Initially, It was for boys only and two years later, girls were welcomed. The Orthodox Patriarchate established another school for girls in 1858. The Anglican Church had its own school with a special interest in teaching languages. The Diocesan Seminary, established in Jerusalem in 1852 was transferred to Beit Jala in 1936. The LPJ school was a primary school until 1994. Thereafter it serves as a secondary school with all educational stages: English, French, laboratory for physics, chemistry and biology, religious activities, physical training festivals. The Rosary Sisters came to serve the parish in 1856. Several organizations were established: Scouts in 1950, Saint Vincent Association in 1953, Legion of Mary in 1956 and Ladies of Our Lady of the Annunciation in 2005.

Statistics:

Population 12,570 I Christians 8,000 I Latin Christians 2,500


Contacts:

Beit Jala: Annunciation Parish
Parish Priest: Fr. Hanna Salem
Tel: +970.2.274.2612 or 02 2740563
Mobile: 054 970 6482

The Latin Patriarchate School was the first school founded in the town in 1854. This school was for girls and it was run by the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.The Orthodox Patriarchate established another school for girls in 1858. The Anglican Church had its own school that was interested in teaching languages. In 1936 the Clerical Institute was transferred to Beit Jala from Jerusalem where it was established in 1852.

The Latin Patriarchate schools started from Beit Jala.The first Latin Patriarchate schools was built in Beit Jala in 1852.The constructing of these schools aims at spreading the spiritual awareness in Christian faith in the one hand. In the other hand it aims at enhancing the process of education at that time that would serve the society and the people. The Patriarchate schools didn’t only have the target of educating and teaching, but they also supported and helped the communities themselves socially and financially. The school was named St. Josef School after the saint Josef name until 1960. Then its name was changed into the Rosary nuns school for several years and finally it was decided to change its name into the Latin Patriarchate school.

The school was a primary school until 1994.Since then it has been changed into a secondary school that consists of all the educational stages. It’s the only secondary school in the area that belongs to the Latin Patriarchate. Students who attend this school come from other Latin Patriarchate schools in the region and of course from other schools.

The school staff are about 45 teachers who are well – qualified and have university degrees. The number of students in this scholastic year 98-99 exceeds 700 students, boys & girls, distributed in its three educational stages. The students come from Bethlehem area, Christians and Muslims, both religions are taught in this school and it is worth while to mention that it is a mixed school for boys and girls.

The school curricula are the same curricula taught in the state schools except the foreign languages. English language has its own materials in this school and in the other Patriarchate schools. It is taught in all the educational stages that start in the first elementary grade. French language is also taught in this school. The school has started lately to teach computer science and qualified teachers are appointed to carry out this task. The school has a well-equipped laboratory that helps the students again more knowledge theoretically and practically. This laboratory meets the requirements needed while teaching and learning physics, chemistry and biology.

The school carries on some religious activities such as teaching constantly Christianity, a period every week, a weekly mass and some other necessary Christian activities. The school has also a role in participating in none curricula activities such as the environmental ones and it always takes part in the physical training festivals. Picnics are always its objectives and annual local tours are performed.