Synagogues of Jerusalem

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This article deals with some of the notable synagogues of Jerusalem.

Former synagogues[edit]

Beis Aharon Synagogue of Karlin-Stolin[edit]

Beis Aharon, c.1930

In around 1870 the first Karlin-Stolin Hasidim settled in Jerusalem and by 1874 had established their own synagogue in the Old City. It was named Beis Aharon (House of Aaron) after a work authored by Rabbi Aharon II Perlow of Karlin (1802–1872).

After it was destroyed during the 1948 Israel War of Independence, a new centre was established in Jerusalem’s Beis Yisrael neighbourhood.

Chesed El Synagogue[edit]

The Chesed El Synagogue was a synagogue located on Chabad Street in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was established by immigrants from Iraq in 1853 and served as a centre for Jews of Iraqi descent living in Jerusalem. It also served as a yeshiva for kabbalists and had a famous library of Kabbalistic works.

The synagogue was active until the fall of the Jewish Quarter during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War when it was taken over by an Arab family. After the Six-Day War the building became the centre of Bnei Akiva and didn't revert to use as a synagogue.[1]

Yanina Synagogue[edit]

The Yanina Synagogue, was a Romaniote synagogue established by the Jews of Ioannina, Greece. It was located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The community also has a synagogue in the "new city", located in the Ohel Moshe neighborhood of Nahlaot.[1]

Active synagogues[edit]

Great Synagogue[edit]

Menachem Zion Synagogue[edit]

The Menachem Zion Synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel, was completed in 1837. Built by the Perushim, it was named after their leader Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov and after the blessing of consolation recited on Tisha B'Av: "Blessed be He who consoles (menachem) Zion and rebuilds Jerusalem." Rabbi Daniel Sperber leads the congregation.

Hurva Synagogue[edit]

The Hurva Synagogue (English: Ruined Synagogue) was originally intended for construction in the 18th century. A small building was constructed, but due to financial difficulties, the intended larger building was not completed. The building was destroyed by an earthquake, and a second attempt to build a large synagogue was blocked by Arab landowners in the early 19th century failed. In the 1830s, multiple small synagogues were built around the site. In the 1860s, the large synagogue was completed. It was destroyed by the Jordanians following the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. The synagogue was rebuilt in 2009 and is a distinguished feature of Jerusalem's Old City skyline.

Beth Midrash "Tiferet Yisrael" al Shem Shai Agnon[edit]

The Talpiot neighborhood in Jerusalem was established immediately after World War I. Its planners' intention was to make it into the capital city of the nascent state of Israel. The first synagogue in the neighborhood was in a hut, which was established to serve as a structure for the builders of the neighborhood and after the completion of the construction was converted into a mixed Ashkenazi and Sephardic synagogue. Among the first worshipers of the minyan in the hut was the writer Shmuel Yosef Agnon, who lived in the neighborhood. He described the hut and how the prayer was conducted in it in the short story "The Symbol" (The Fire and the Trees), Tel Aviv Press 1961. The cornerstone of the current building was laid in Chanukah 1934, in the presence of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook zt"l. With the outbreak of the 1936–1939 riots, the construction of the synagogue was delayed and the structure remained neglected. After the outbreak of World War II in 1939 the British confiscated the building and established in it a police station and a warehouse.

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, during the period when Talpiot was a transit camp (ma'abara), the State used the building as a warehouse of equipment for the transit camp. In the 1950s the building was leased to the Hebrew University and served as a warehouse of its medical school. In the late 1960s the building returned to the Jerusalem municipality, who renovated the building with the assistance of the Jerusalem Foundation and with a contribution received from author SY Agnon, a resident of the neighborhood, out of the money he received for the Nobel Prize. In the month of Elul 5772 (1972) the synagogue was again inaugurated in a procession where the Torah scrolls from the hut were brought in.

See also[edit]