Displaying the Agriculture, Horticulture, and Archeology of the Ancient Near East.
See The Land Of The Bible, The Holy Land
Visit the Biblical lands, right on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh! The Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden, established in 1987, is the largest such garden in North America. Sitting on a third of an acre, the garden is the only one of its kind to feature an ongoing program of research and publication.
The pastoral setting includes a waterfall, a desert, a stream, and a representation of the River Jordan, which meanders through the garden from our Lake Galilee to our Dead Sea. All plants in the garden—more than 100—are labeled with corresponding biblical verses and are displayed among replicas of ancient farming tools. Among the specimens are wheat, barley, millet, and herbs valued by the ancient Israelites. Olives, dates, pomegranates, figs, and cedar trees round out the historic and educational inventory. New plants join the garden annually!
The Biblical Botanical Garden is free and open to the public during operating hours. The Garden entrance is located near the corner of 5th Avenue and Devonshire, on Devonshire Street.
Guests are welcome to come and walk through the garden on their own. For groups of 8 or more, we offer docent-guided tours. These tours are led by trained docents, who will guide your group through the garden. Guided tours must be scheduled at least 2 weeks ahead of your intended tour date.
Schedule a Tour:
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 412.621.6566 ext. 143
2023 Garden Hours
June 4 - September 14th
Sunday, Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays · 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Tuesdays · 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Closed Fridays and Saturdays
With a vision of creating a garden around a theme of ancient Near East flora, Irene Jacob, of blessed memory, along with her husband Rabbi Dr. Walter Jacob, established the Biblical Botanical Garden and led it for twenty-six years. Irene possessed a strong background in the history of gardening with an emphasis on the ancient Near East. She was the former Education Coordinator of Phipps Conservatory and the founder of its docent program. Educated in Great Britain, Israel, and the United States, she taught economic botany at Chatham College and lectured extensively. She received multiple awards, including the Vita Cultural Award. She was the author or co-author of several books.
The Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden was established by Irene and Rabbi Emeritus Dr. Walter Jacob in 1986 to highlight the plants of the ancient near east. Each summer, a themed special exhibit augments the collection of biblical plants, focusing on one aspect of daily life and the ways our Near Eastern ancestors dealt with that aspect of their lives, making the biblical world and that of the surrounding societies real to our visitors. We see the Garden continuing the long Rodef Shalom tradition of interfaith standing, so the world of plants can bring us closer to each other.
The Biblical Botanical Garden combines beauty, education, meditation, and spiritual sustenance for thousands of visitors each summer. The garden displays more than 100 temperate and tropical plants grown in ancient Israel in a setting reminiscent of the Holy Land. A cascading waterfall flows into Lake Kineret or the Sea of Galilee; this becomes a bubbling stream, the Jordan, which meanders through the garden, ending in the Dead Sea surrounded by a small desert.
As two-thirds of the plants are Mediterranean or tropical, they must be brought in before the earliest frost and not placed into the garden again till all such danger has passed. This means that several truckloads of plants must be carefully tended during the long winter months. For this reason, our season is limited to the three summer months.
The Garden respects the love of the Bible which people throughout the world have displayed by naming plants for biblical figures. Although these plants were not grown in ancient Israel, we have planted a specially labeled selection to demonstrate this attachment to the Bible.
ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN HORTICULTURE AND AGRICULTURE:
The Biblical Botanical Garden is one of the only gardens devoted to the study of horticulture and agriculture of the ancient Near East and has sought to make this knowledge widely accessible through the creation of a unique program and series of plantings each year. Every summer we emphasize a different aspect of ancient life and introduce twenty to thirty new plants, along with educational displays, literature, and lectures by specialists.
As part of the Biblical Garden's mission towards education, we offer a selection of materials available for purchase discussing different topics the garden explores. These range from reference books, to essays, to cookbooks. In addition to our online store, all books are available for purchase in person at the Rodef Shalom Gift Corner, or by phone at 412-621-6566 ext.115.
By Walter Jacob A 30-year history of the garden. Exploring its creation and impact. $22
Plants of the Bible and their Uses
By Irene Jacob A complete guide to the plants of the bible, including descriptions of the plant, their growing conditions, and their ancient and modern uses. $25
Cooking With Beer
Edited by Karen Herzog A short collection of recipes, all featuring one of the words most popular beverages, beer. $5
Botanical Symbols in World Religions - A Guide
by Irene Jacob Lavishly illustrated with a thorough introduction to the theme. A selection of botanical symbols used by Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism. $18
The Environment in Jewish Law
Edited by Walter Jacob in association with Moshe Zemer A collection of essays exploring the way Jewish law and ethics intersect with the environment. $15
A Taste of Honey
Edited by Marian Finegold A book of recipes to accompany the special exhibit “Land of Milk and Honey.” All recipes contain honey. $15
Dining with the Ancients
Edited by Karen Herzog A book of recipes from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. $15