Monday, July 13, 2009

A building meant for rabbis

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The first time I saw this enormous monotonous building on Torah Mitzion Street, I really wondered about its history.
Now I know a little more, but I still wonder . . . about the lives of those many families of pious Jews who live inside.
The shikun, meaning apartment block or housing project, was erected in 1945 to house rabbis who had survived the Holocaust and who had made it from Europe to Jerusalem, probably with nothing but the shirt on their back.
However, it soon became populated with all kinds of refugees and needy people, not just rabbis.

In the first photo you see (especially if you click) a white dome. It is the roof of this synagogue, called Beit Knesset Beit Aharon [of] Shikun HaRabbanim.
The man with his hand on his ear is talking on his cell phone, in case you wondered.

The dedicatory plaque praises several generous and upstanding men who gave money to build the synagogue.
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The neighborhood is called Romema, near the western entrance to Jerusalem. Founded in 1921, it was the first Jewish neighborhood built during the period of British rule and was planned as an exclusive residential neighborhood.
Maybe in a future post I can show you some of the dozen original stately houses, very beautiful.
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The funny story of how the Arab mayor surrendered Jerusalem to two British army cooks in 1917 on the then-desolate hill that would become Romema is in an earlier post.
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21 comments:

Vagabonde said...

I read your earlier post about the surrender of Jerusalem – what glory for army cooks to be handed the surrender! I wondered if they created a dish for that occasion? The building you show is quite imposing. Do émigrés still live in it?

J said...

At first glance, I thought that building was a prison!

erin said...

another interesting and very informative post. and i too, at first glance thought it perhaps a jail or something of that sort.
thanks for sharing another piece of history of Jerusalem.
have a lovely tuesday

Kay said...

I wonder what it looks like on the inside. Do you have women rabbis?

Dina said...

Vagabonde, ha, maybe a dish out of the chicken eggs they were out looking for in the first place. :)
The Shikun Harabbanim houses very Orthodox Jews, as far as I can tell. I'll try to find out more, somehow...

J and Erin, a prison! That is one that did not occur to me. But I wanted to show you that not all of Jerusalem is beautiful.

Kay, when I say "pious Jews" I'm talking ULTRA-Orthodox. Don't even mention women rabbis around them!
The Reform and Conservative do ordain women, however. They can't marry or bury or anything, though. Not legally recognized (I mean the movements are not).

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Dina: That was an interesting story of the building.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I love this. Thanks for another little insight into Israel.

Abe Lincoln said...

Interesting place. With gobs of history throughout the ages. Amazing.

Karen said...

I heard about the surrender to the British Army cooks, from my Grandfather, when I was a young child. Apparently it caused quite a bit of amusement amongst the allied troops :-)

Interesting history about the building. That first photo is very cool ..especially with all the washing hanging out the windows...

Great photos !!

Elisabeth's bright side said...

Very interesting, thanks for the tour and have a nice week!

Pietro said...

A very informative post, Dina. That enormous monotonous building well reflects the situation of the unlucky families who lived there.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Wow! Fantastic blogworld indeed! Now I don't even have to go to see Israel. It's now here on the blogosphere.

Interesting facts to read Dina.

Shalom!

Arija said...

Dina, another of your historically interesting posts bringing us into the immediacy of the moment with the man with his cell phone. Very well done.

Sailor Girl said...

One Day I will visit your World!!!

JM said...

What an interesting story!
Regarding your comment on my travel blog, I think you should create another one, Dina! I bet you also have fantastic stories of other places you have lived in. If you have the time, do it! :-)))

Petrea said...

As usual, a fascinating post. I remember the earlier one about the surrender, too. Jerusalem is such a varied and interesting place and you are so interested in it, I imagine you'll never run out of things to show us.

RuneE said...

Another piece of (to me) new history from our resident archaeologist and historian - thank you for sharing. Blogging is for learning ;-)

PS Thank you for the comment, but the city you live outside is larger than the one I live outside!

Sarah said...

It was excitnig! I look forward to your photos about dozen original stately houses!

Cloudia said...

Thanks for the tour. and as your the post yesterday? You are no complainer so let it rip, dina ;-)

Aloha-

Glennis said...

That white building is very large, many Rabbi must have been expected, perhaps many arrived and need such a big apartment building, I wouldn't have expected there to be many left. I hope there were.
Thanks for the tour around your city.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for the tour, Dina! Very interesting!