How To Visit
Visiting Rachel's Tomb is easy and we encourage everyone who visits Jerusalem, Israel, to do so.The Tomb is easily accessed as it is located not more than a mile south of the Jerusalem city limits, it requires only a short bus ride or drive south to Bethlehem.
Some have asked our committee for a street address of Rachel's Tomb so that they may enter it into their GPS. We're sure that there is an address for Rachel's Tomb that's on official maps, but we've never heard of it. Since we can't give an actual street address, instead you may enter the geographical coordinates of the Tomb into your GPS. The coordinates are: 31 N 43'09" x 35 E 12'07"
Let it be known that Rachel's Tomb is open and all are welcome to visit - without respect to nationality, gender, race or religion.
There are no registration procedures. Visitors are welcome to come and go almost as much as they please.
There is no entry fee.
The Tomb is open everyday, except for the Jewish Sabbath ("Shabbat") and Jewish holidays ("Chag"). Here is the sign on the gate at the Border Police post that was still in effect at the entrance to the Tomb as of 5 November 2015:
The Tomb is closed by the Israeli army on Fridays approximately 3 hours before the Shabbat starts and it opens again approximately one hour after the Sabbath exits. Since the times that the Sabbath comes in and exits changes with the seasons you should check here for a calendar that gives the entry and exit times of the Sabbath for any given day of the year. The Tomb is also closed for Jewish holidays and the closing and opening routine is the same as for the Sabbath, so a calendar of holidays can be found here.
There is, however, a period during the night when visitation is not permitted as the Israeli Army closes the Tomb nearly every night from the hours between 22:00 hours to 00:30 hours (10:00 pm to 12:30 am). The one exception to this daily closure is from Thrusday night to Friday morning, as the Tomb is open all night.
The trip to and from the Tomb is safe. The Israeli Border Patrol and Israel Defense Forces keep a continuous watchful eye over the entire area. The Tomb is within a compound that is surrounded by 25 foot high concrete walls for the protection of visitors. The Tomb has undergone massive exterior reinforcement and is a fortress in itself, yet the facade of the building has been tastefully and esthetically finished. Unfortunately mis-information about the Tomb abounds on the internet, with false claims that the Tomb is a dangerous place to visit or that is is strictly a military post where civilians are forbidden. Some of this misinformation is unintentional and some of it deliberate. One of the purposes of our committee is to correct such misinformation and distortions about the Tomb.
Access to the Tomb is only by vehicle as the police forbid anyone to just walk in.
In years past, the rule was that only armored vehicles were allowed into the Tomb compound. But as of 2009 security had increased to the point which that was no longer necessary so now any vehicle may enter the compound and park.
Access is easy. There is a place where passengers can be dropped off right next to the Tomb, so that those with difficulty walking or in wheelchairs can more easily enter.
There is a parking lot in the Tomb compound that holds approximately 50 cars, and on normal days there are plenty of spaces. There is no charge for parking.
Here is a sign which outlines certain rules and regulations regarding behavior and policies of Rachel's Tomb. It has been up as of 20 June 2014:
It should be noted that on the anos or the yahrzeit, the anniversary of Rachel our Matriarch's death, literally tens of thousands of Jews flock to the Tomb. On Rachel's anos/yahrzeit only, the place is packed day and night and the parking lot is full. Those who adore dense crowds and love traffic jams will be ecstatic there on that day. But for the rest of us who would prefer to avoid the seething crowds, we recommend choosing another day to visit. To determine the day of Rachel's anos/yahrzeit click here.
Bus access by the Israel Egged Bus Cooperative is provided and their busses go directly to the Tomb. Egged has their #163 bus that goes from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, picks up at a number of stops within Jerusalem, arrives at the Tomb and then returns to the JCBS via the same route. We would post a schedule of it's route, the times and pick-up points but Egged's schedule is subject to change without notice so we recommend calling the Egged Bus Cooperative and asking for schedule details. For those calling from outside Israel their number is 972-3-694-8888. For those calling from within Israel it is *2800. OR you can go to their Trip Planner (it's in English) and put in "Jerusalem" for origin and "Tomb of Rachel" for destination then click on the button and that will give you a complete and up-to-date schedule.
Taxis frequently take passengers directly to the Tomb. The people we know who have taken taxis have reported that the drivers knew where the Tomb was and had no anxiety about driving there. If you're pressed for time then taking a taxi to the Tomb is the best option. Since it's only a 15 minute ride there from the center of Jerusalem under normal traffic situations the price should not exceed 70 sheqels for one fare. Most taxi drivers are honest, but to keep the rest of them honest tell your driver that you want a receipt from that ride which will require him to activate the meter. There are drivers who claim that they'll do you a big favor by being off the meter and that it'll be cheaper for you for the two of you to agree on a supposedly lower price beforehand. He will say that it'll be good for you and good for him as he'll get all the money - and screw his company out of a fare. Don't accept this because they know full well that the price they suggest will be far MORE than what you'd pay on the meter! Our Director experienced this himself. One driver said that to get to where he was going would cost 120 sheqels on the meter because of rush hour traffic and that he was doing him a big favor by my agreeing to pay 75 sheqels off the meter. Our Director insisted on using the meter - and in the end the fare was only 55 sheqels.
To drive to the Tomb, the general directions are to start in Jerusalem, drive south along Hebron Road or "Derech Hebron". Keep going south and you will enter Bethlehem. Keep going straight south and a high grey concrete wall will be directly ahead. The road will turn into a roundabout with a right turn option. Turn right and you will immediately arrive at a Border Police checkpoint. They will let you in so just follow the only road until you arrive at the Tomb and the adjacent parking lot. It's that simple.
If you have any further questions please contact us directly via the e-mail address below.
The Friends of Rachel's Tomb
Dale Baranowski, Director, P.O. Box 24, 9094200 Elazar, Israel
Rachel's Tomb: A Capsule History A Photographic Tour Of Rachel's Tomb
Searching For Every Rachel More Recent History
Rachel's Yahrzeit News Update ArticlesDonations
Midnight At The Tomb Prayers For Those In Need Links
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