Mea Shearim is one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Israel. It is populated mainly by Haredi Jews and was built by the Old Yishuv, according to a tradition, the community originally had 100 gates, another meaning of mea shearim. Conrad Schick, a German Christian architect and missionary, drew up a plan for Mea Shearim in 1846, Mea Shearim was established in 1874 as one of the earliest Jewish settlements outside the walls of the Old City by a building society of 100 shareholders. Yosef Rivlin, one of the heads of the Jewish community in Jerusalem, the work was carried out by both Jewish and non-Jewish workers. Mea Shearim was structured as a courtyard neighborhood and it was surrounded by a wall, with gates that were locked every evening. By October 1880,100 apartments were ready for occupancy and a lottery was held to them to families. By the turn of the century, there were 300 houses, a flour mill, conrad Schick planned for open green space in each courtyard, but cowsheds were built instead. Mea Shearim was the first quarter in Jerusalem to have street lights, residents have been criticized for attacking police, and other government officials entering the area with stones, and blocking the streets, or setting fire to rubbish when they try to do so. A small, violent, group called The Sikrikim of less than 100 families enforce censorship on bookshops, in April 2015, an IDF officer was attacked by men and women of Mea Shearim who allegedly threatened to kill him, while children blocked his exit. The attack was condemned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “outrageous, ” and by Shas leader Arye Deri as “an act of terror. ”Today, Mea Shearim remains an insular neighbourhood in the heart of Jerusalem. With its Haredi and overwhelmingly Hasidic population, the streets retain the characteristics of an Eastern European shtetl as it would have appeared in pre-revolutionary Russia, life revolves around strict adherence to Jewish law, prayer, and the study of Jewish religious texts. Traditions in dress include black frock coats and black hats for men, in some Hasidic groups, the women wear thick black stockings all year long, even in summer. Married women wear a variety of coverings, from wigs to scarves. The men have beards, and many grow long sidecurls, called peyos, the residents speak Yiddish in their daily lives, and use Hebrew only for prayer and religious study, as they believe Hebrew to be a sacred language only to be used for religious purposes. Hasidic groups with a number of followers in Mea Shearim include, Breslov, Slonim, Toldos Aharon, Toldos Avraham Yitzchak, Mishkenos HaRoim. The Pinsk-Karlin dynasty also has its center here, the Edah HaChareidis, which supervises kashrut certification and runs a Jewish religious court, has its headquarters at the western end of Mea Shearim. Some residents have asked to live under Arab rule, the late Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, the leading posek of Litvish/Yeshivish Jewry, made his home here. Modesty posters in Hebrew and English are hung at every entrance to Mea Shearim, during Shabbat, visitors are asked to refrain from smoking, photography, driving or use of mobile phones
Mea She'arim Street
A wall plastered with pashkevilin (announcements) in Mea Shearim.