Slihot tour through the lens of Agnon’s 'Tehilla'

Tehilla’s themes of sin, suffering, repentance and forgiveness woven into a powerful slihot tour through the alleyways of the Old City.

October 5, 2011 16:09
3 minute read.
Slihot tours at Agnon House

Slihot tours at Agnon House 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of Agnon House staff)

Agnon House in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening was set to run one of the city’s only slihot tours in English based on the great Israeli writer, Shay Agnon’s Tehilla

The story, set in the Old City, includes a strong theme of forgiveness making it an exciting, relevant backdrop to a slihot tour through the Old City in the days leading up to Yom Kippur.

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The English tour on Wednesday is one of three slihot tours offered by Agnon House. The tours were initiated last year by Eilat Leber, director and curator of Agnon House and this year the English tour was prompted by Nicole Goldstein Strassman, tour guide and director of English programs at Agnon House.

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All of the tours are conducted by professional tour guides, and one of the Hebrew tours and the English tour include dramatic readings from Tehilla by an actress. The tour also includes entrance into the Old Yishuv Court Museum, which take one back to the trials and tribulations of the Old Yishuv.

Agnon wrote the story in the 1950s when Jerusalem was divided and he no longer had access to the Old City. Tehilla is centered on a righteous old woman who the narrator meets in the Old City in the 1920s during the British mandate period. Tehilla personifies kindness and good deeds but has suffered tragedy in her life, which becomes apparent as the story unfolds. The narrator who is also a writer becomes involved in her story about sin, suffering, repentance and forgiveness.

According to Nikky Strasman, Public Relations Officer at Agnon House, there is no evidence that Tehilla was a real person, but the story was set in the Old City which Agnon frequented when he could, and wrote about in many of his stories. The tours are attended by a mixture of people who share a love of literature and want to see the Old City through the eyes of a storyteller. No prior knowledge of Agnon or Tehilla is necessary to enjoy the tour.

The slihot tour is just one of the ways that Agnon House is including an English speaking audience. The venue now also offers plays and lectures in English. “Agnon House is proud to renew the spirit of Agnon’s heroine Tehilla through dramatized slihot tours in the Old City,” says Nikky.

The tour takes place Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Pre-registration required: +972-2-671-6498.
The tour costs NIS 85. is a new online international travel portal offering all the latest information on things to do , places to eat  and places to stay in Jerusalem.

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