A Real Estate Investment which is also a Donation

The following post is unusual in that it is not about archaeology, but about a touching story, Hebrew poetry and also an invitation to invest in real estate in Jerusalem with an amazing return, which is in effect a contribution to the Sifting Project.

About a year and a half ago, during the Hanukkah holiday, there was a fear that we would have to cut back at least 50% of our activity. During the preparation of a fundraising campaign, we received a phone call from a lawyer who informed us that his client, who had just passed away, had bequeathed to us 90% of her apartment on Emek Refaim St. in Jerusalem. However, the will stipulated that the mother of the deceased, who is still alive and used to live with her in the apartment, has the right to continue living in it as long as she lives. Consequently, we are not yet allowed to sell the apartment.

The late Geula Hodes-Palchan (1966-2022)

This development and its timing were like a light shining at the end of a tunnel. This inheritance is actually the largest donation we have received to date. Although it seems that this inheritance could not yet be liquidated, it still has great value in that it gives security for the future and an assurance that even if, in the short-term, the project will have to close due to lack of funding, in the long-term it will be possible to finance the continuation of the research and the publication of the findings. This security greatly helped us to continue our operations and to raise enough funds to carry out research and sifting in 2023 until we would begin to receive the promised government funding. Indeed, a few days before Sukkot, we received the first payment of the authorized funding, but then the war broke out and government funding is ‘now up in the air’.

The name of the deceased, the late Geula Hodes-Palchan (1966-2022) was somewhat familiar to us. She used to occasionally donate some money to the project through our crowdfunding site, but we never met or spoke with her. Geula was a poet who is not known to the general public, but in Israeli literary circles she is indeed renowned. She immigrated to Israel from Russia when she was 5 years old, and although her mother tongue was Russian, Hebrew was in her soul, and she managed to reach the highest level of the language – that of becoming a Hebrew poet. She published many books, anthologies and poems.

It turns out that Geula had a very high regard for the Sifting Project, yet we don’t know if she ever visited it. She had no children and therefore could not leave her property to them. The knowledge that the poet has willed that the main influence she leaves behind her is support for the research we are conducting, and not just the promotion and publication of her works, excites us very much and also provides us with much moral support to continue to pursue the long-standing mission that we have been carrying out.

One of Geula’s publications:
Jerusalem beyond the threshold

Unfortunately, Geula’s mother’s condition did not allow her to continue living by herself, so shortly after the death of her daughter, she moved to the north to be near Geula’s friend who takes provides her with care. In addition to this, the building in which the apartment is situated has begun a process of demolition/renovation, and in its place a modern building will be built with more spacious apartments than the current ones. Therefore, in a few years all the tenants will have to vacate their apartments.

As we hinted at the beginning of the post, this apartment represents an interesting investment opportunity. Since the war, the volume of our donations has dropped by more than 70%, as almost the entire philanthropic world is now mobilized for issues directly related to the war. Scientific foundations such as ours find themselves in a difficult situation that puts them at risk of closure. Therefore, our only way to obtain cash flow that will allow us to continue the research and sifting work is through this inheritance.

We decided to offer a transaction of selling a future purchase option for the apartment (see option sale ad). After all, in any case, if we could today sell the apartment normally, only investors would show interest due to the recently initiated demolition/renovation process. Therefore, we are offering, for an advance paid now, that the investor will receive the right to purchase the apartment at the current price in the future – after the eviction process is completed and the developer will provide the tenants with apartments that are about 60% larger than the existing ones, plus a balcony, parking and storage. That is, the investor will have to pay only a portion of the price of the apartment as it is today, without the need to take additional loans, and in the future will be able to sell it at a much higher price due to the contract the residents have with the entrepreneur. In other words, it is a leveraged investment without risks and without financing costs.

We advertised our proposal about three weeks ago, and because of the number of inquiries, we had to stop answering the phones… instead, we now send the details of the proposal to the investors by email and ask them to send us offers. Since this is a transaction that also constitutes support for the continuation of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, we thought to also offer it to our friends and supporters of the Project, who might see it as an investment that is also a donation. Those interested in more details are welcome to contact us at tmsifting@gmail.com, and we will send more details.

And finally, in order to express our gratitude to the late Geulah Palhan, we will also help to commemorate her by publishing her poetry on our Hebrew language media channels (See links in first comment for her publication and Wikipedia page).

However, on the occasion of Jerusalem Day, which we celebrated this week, and for those of you who speak Hebrew, we will present one of her beautiful poems about Jerusalem:

ירושלים של ערב / גאולה הודס-פלחן ז”ל
יְרוּשָׁלַיִם שֶׁל עֶרֶב, אֲנִי צָעִיף מִצְּעִיפַיִךְ,
אֲנִי אֶבֶן גְּלוּלָה עַל פִּי בְּאֵר,
וּמֵימַי לוֹחֲשִׁים לִי: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם,
פִּתְחִי לָנוּ, שֶׁכְּבָר בָּא שַׁחַר!
וַאֲנִי לֹא נַעֲנֵית, כִּי יְרוּשָׁלַיִם שֶׁל עֶרֶב אֲנִי,
וְשַׁחֲרךְ, לֹֹא לִי הוּא,
שָׁמַיִךְ הָאַדְמוֹנִיִּים,
שֶׁכָּל אַדְמוּמִית וְאַדְמוּמִית
שֶׁבָּהֶם – מַלְכוּת,
שָׁמַיךְ, לֹא לִי הֵם!
וַאֲנִי צָעִיף מִצְּעִיפַיךְ,
לוּ אֶנְוֶּה, רַק לְהֶרֶף עַיִן,
בַּמָּקוֹם שֶׁמִּמֶּנּוּ נֶעֱקַרְת,


A brass replica of a Half-Shekel coin we sent Geula several years ago as appreciation for her modest donation to the sifting project. It was so touching to find it in her apartment.

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