Showing posts with label Jewish Quarter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jewish Quarter. Show all posts

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Appreciating Christians - Interview with Shlomo (Solomon) from Jewish Quarter - Steve Martin

Appreciating Christians - Interview with Shlomo (Solomon) from Jewish Quarter - Steve Martin

Published on Oct 21, 2018
Interview with Shlomo from Jewish Quarter - Steve Martin Oct. 21, 2010 Videos filmed and shared by Steve Martin - to give appreciation to and love for those we support, through Love For His People, Inc.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Jerusalem Morning Walk. Through Jewish Quarter on way to Western Wall. Before it gets crowded! - video with Steve Martin

Published on Oct 18, 2018

Jerusalem Morning Walk. Through Jewish Quarter on way to Western Wall. Before it gets crowded! Oct. 16, 2018 Videos filmed and shared by Steve Martin - to give appreciation to and love for those we support, through Love For His People, Inc.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Life and Death of a Jewish Courtyard in Jerusalem's Old City

Israel's History - a Picture a Day (Beta)

Posted: 23 Apr 2015
A scene in a Jerusalem courtyard in the Jewish Quarter, April 1917 (Imperial War Museum Q 86316)

The picture of this Jerusalem courtyard in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City was taken by a German army photographer during World War I and was found in the British Imperial War Museum.  Jerusalem at the time was ruled by the Ottomans. 

The distinctive arches on the building on the right identify it as the Rothschild Building, part of the Batei Machaseh compound built for Jewish residents of the Jewish Quarter.  It was donated by Baron Wilhelm Karl de Rothschild of Frankfurt.  The building still bears the Rothschild family's coat of arms. The compound was built between 1860 and 1890 to provide housing for Jerusalem's poor.

The Rothschild Building appears in a series of dramatic Life Magazine photographs taken by John Phillips during the Jordanian capture of the Old City during the 1948 war. The arches can be seen on the left side of these pictures; the picture above was a reverse view of the ones below.  The first was taken in the midst of the fighting in June 1948, and the Jews are seen gathering their belongings for their evacuation.  The second picture, taken in July 1948, shows the looting that took place.  The pictures appear in the DaledAmos blog.

Jewish Quarter courtyard prior to evacuation (Life Magazine, John Phillips)

Jewish Quarter after the evacuation and looting (Life Magazine, John Phillips)

Phillips' last picture shows the Jews' evacuation from the Old City under the guard of Jordanian Legionnaires.  The Rothschild Building serves as the backdrop to the tragic picture.

Jewish refugees heading to the Zion Gate near the Rothschild Building

Thursday, January 16, 2014


New York - January 16, 2014: 3.54 million visitors from around the world arrived in Israel in 2013, a new all-time high in travel to Israel, says Haim Gutin, Israel Commissioner for Tourism, North and South America.

The U.S. is the number one source of tourism to Israel (20% of tourists to Israel come from North America), followed by Russia, France, Germany and the U.K.

"It is an unheard of phenomenon that any country's largest and highest-spending source of tourism comes from 6,000+ miles away," observed Gutin, "which underscores the importance of the work we do in North America."

The month of December 2013 also set a new record high, with the arrival of 24% more tourists (visitors who stayed more than one night) than in 2012. Cruise travel to Israel also increased in 2013 with the arrival of a record 257,000 cruise visitors.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism estimates that 53% of all incoming travelers identify as "Christian" and 28% as "Jewish." The Ministry also estimates that the sites most visited by tourists to Israel are Jerusalem's Western Wall (68%) and Jewish Quarter (64%), the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (57%), the Via Dolorosa (55%) and the Mount of Olives (53%).

For more information about tourism to Israel, visit
Ross Belfer at WEILL - - 1-866-PRWEILL
 Israel Ministry of Tourism, N.A. - Gail Barzilay - - 212-499-5647
New York ◦ 212-499-5650  
Canada ◦ Director: Ami Allon ◦ 416-964-3784   
Los Angeles ◦ Director: Eliezer Hod ◦ 323-658-7463
Atlanta ◦ Director: Eyal Carlin ◦ 404-541-2770
Chicago ◦ Director: Omer Eshel ◦ 312-803-7080

Geoffrey Weill Associates
Informational material is disseminated on behalf of the Israel Ministry of Tourism.
Additional information available at the Department of Justice

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Ancient Synagogues of Jerusalem, Destroyed in 1948. (Israel's Picture A Day)

The Ancient Synagogues of Jerusalem, Destroyed in 1948 The pictures from the University of California - Riverside Archives

Posted: 09 Jan 2014

"The Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem with its two synagogues. Palestine."

The Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue (left) and the Hurva Synagogue (1900)
(Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock,
University of California, Riverside) See also Two domes (Library of Congress)

This picture of the two domes of the Hurva and Tiferet Yisrael Synagogues in Jerusalem's Old City has been featured in our postings before after we found them in various collections.

But we never came across a photo with such clarity, suggesting that the archives at UC-Riverside contains the original photos taken by the Underwood & Underwood Co. in 1900. UC-R's files also allow huge and detailed on-screen enlargements of the photos. We thank the heads of the library for permission to republish their photos, and we abide by their request to limit the photos' sizes on these pages.

The Keystone-Mast collection at UC-R also contains other photos of the exterior and interior of the Tiferet Yisrael and the Hurva Synagogues in the Old City in the middle of the 19th century.

The UC-R photo bears no caption or date on this picture of the
Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California
Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside)

William H. Seward, who served as President Abraham Lincoln's secretary of state, visited Jerusalem in 1859 and 1870. He wrote a travelogue after his second trip, and he described attending Friday night services at the "Wailing Wall" and in one of the two impressive synagogues. Seward's description appears below.

Avraham Shlomo Zalman Hatzoref arrived in Eretz Yisrael200 years ago and was responsible for building the Hurva synagogue. Ashkenazic Jews had been banned from the Old City in the early 19th century after defaulting on a loan. Hatzoref, a student of the Gaon of Vilna and a builder in Jerusalem, arranged for the cancellation of the Ashkenazi community's large debt to local Arabs. In anger, local Arabs killed him in 1851. (Hatzoref is recognized by the State of Israel as the first victim of modern Arab terrorism.)

The two prominent synagogue domes shared the panoramic view of Jerusalem with the domes of the Dome of the Rock and al Aqsa Mosque for almost 80 years. In the course of the 1948 war, the Jordanian army blew up both buildings and destroyed the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

We present below interior pictures of the two synagogues from the UC-R and Library of Congress collections.

The interior of the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue
(circa 1900) (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum
of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside)

Interior of the Hurva Synagogue (circa
1900) (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of
Photography at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside)

Note the curtains covering the Ark containing the Torah scrolls. When the German Emperor arrived in Jerusalem in 1898, the Jewish community constructed a welcome arch, photographed by the American Colony photographic department. The curtains from the synagogues and the Torah crowns were taken down to decorate the arch.

Interior of the Hurva Synagogue (circa 1898, American Colony 
Photograph Department, Library of Congress).
Note the curtain, enlarged below

The inscription on the Hurva curtain reads: [In
memory of] "The woman Raiza daughter of sir
Mordechai from Bucharest, [who died in] the
Hebrew year ת"ר [which corresponds to 1839-40]"
The last line cannot be deciphered, and suggestions
are welcome.

The Hurva interior in the 1930s. The curtain is
dedicated in memory of Hanna Feiga Greerman, the
daughter of Mordechai. The bima inscription reads
"in memory of Yisrael Aharon son of Nachman known
as Mr. Harry Fischel and his wife Sheina daughter
of Shimon [?] of New York"

Click on photos to enlarge. Click on captions
to view the original pictures.

Secretary of State William Seward's Friday Prayer
Was it in the Hurva or the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue?

Excerpt from Travels around the World

... [After leaving the Wailing Wall] a meek, gentle Jew, in a long, plain brown dress, his light, glossy hair falling in ringlets on either side of his face, came tous, and, respectfully accosting Mr. Seward, expressed a desire that he would visit the new synagogue, where the Sabbath service was about to open at sunset. Mr. Seward assented.

William H. Seward, Lincoln's Secretary of State

A crowd of "the peculiar people" attended and showed us the way to the new house of prayer, which we are informed was recently built by a rich countryman of our own whose name we did not learn. It is called the American Synagogue. It is a very lofty edifice, surmounted by a circular dome. Just underneath it a circular gallery is devoted exclusively to the women. Aisles run between the rows of columns which support the gallery and dome. On the plain stone pavement, rows of movable, wooden benches with backs are free to all who come.

At the side of the synagogue, opposite the door, is an elevated desk on a platform accessible only by movable steps, and resembling more a pulpit than a chancel. It was adorned with red-damask curtains, and behind thema Hebrew inscription. Directly in the centre of the room, between the door and this platform, is a dais six feet high and ten feet square, surrounded by a brass railing, carpeted; and containing cushioned seats. We assume that this dais, high above the heads of the worshippers, and on the same elevation with the platform appropriated to prayer, is assigned to the rabbis.

We took seats on one of the benches against the wall; presently an elderly person, speaking English imperfectly, invited Mr. Seward to change his seat; he hesitated, but, on being informed by [Deputy U.S. Consul General] Mr.Finkelstein that the person who gave the invitation was the president of the synagogue, Mr. Seward rose, and the whole party, accompanying him, were conducted up the steps and were comfortably seated on the dais, in the "chief seat in the synagogue." On this dais was a tall, branching, silver candlestick with seven arms.

The congregation now gathered in, the women filling the gallery, and the men, in varied costumes, and wearing hats of all shapes and colors, sitting orstanding as they pleased. The lighting of many silver lamps, judiciously arranged, gave notice that the sixth day's sun had set, and that the holy day had begun. Instantly, the worshippers, all standing, and as many as could turning to the wall, began the utterance of prayer, bending backward and forward, repeating the words in a chanting tone, which each read from a book, in a low voice like the reciting of prayers after the clergyman in the Episcopal service. It seemed to us a service without prescribed form or order. When it had continued some time, thinking that Mr. Seward might be impatient to leave, the chief men requested that he would remain a few moments, until a prayer should be offered for the President of the United States, and another for himself. Now a remarkable rabbi, clad in a long, rich, flowing sacerdotal dress, walked up the aisle; a table was lifted from the floor to the platform, and, by a steepladder which was held by two assistant priests, the rabbi ascended the platform. A large folio Hebrew manuscript was laid on the table before him....

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem's Old City, the Leading Sephardic Seminary Was Destroyed and Rebuilt

Israel's History - a Picture a Day (Beta)

Posted: 14 Nov 2013

The original caption read: "Clearing of lower end of Tyropean Valley, near Dung Gate (1935)." The photo shows the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City before its destruction in 1948. The Porat Yosef Yeshiva is in the center of the picture with the white dome. Today this area is the entrance way to the Western Wall plaza. (Library of Congress, circa 1935, captions added by Israel Daily Picture)

puzzling picture from the Library of Congress collection showing
the "Temple area. Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock and the western
Temple wall." Presumably the wide white lines are photographic
editor's tape. At the corner made by the tape is the Porat Yosef dome. 

The Library of Congress dates the picture "between 1898 and 1946," but
Porat Yosef was not built until 1923. 1946 is the year the American
Colony Photographic Department closed.

Several ultra-Orthodox rabbinical seminaries in Israel can claim to be the leading Ashkenazic yeshiva -- the massive Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem with its 6,000 students, Ponevezh Yeshiva in B'nai Brak, or the Hevron Yeshiva in Jerusalem, once the famous Slabodka seminary in Europe which relocated to Hebron until the 1929 massacre of Jews there.

But there are few challengers in the haredi Sephardic community to the pre-eminence of the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem.  The site for the seminary was purchased 100 years ago; the cornerstone was laid in 1914, and the building was inaugurated in 1923.  The building contained study halls, a synagogue, classrooms and apartments.

It was all destroyed by the Jordanian army in 1948, along with all of the synagogues and homes in Jewish Quarter.  The photos of the war in the Old City and the destruction of the Jewish Quarter were taken by Life Magazine's John Phillips.

After the 1967 war, the Porat Yosef seminary was rebuilt and overlooks the Western Wall Plaza.

The destruction of Porat Yosef Yeshiva (John Phillips, Life Magazine 1948)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Eight Gates of Jerusalem Today

Sites and Insights: Gates of Jerusalem - Jerusalem Post
06/18/2012 17:47

There are 8 gates of Jerusalem today; but the Bible promises 12 in the future.

Jerusalem Light Festival, Damascus Gate
Photo: Courtesy
Wayne Stiles has never recovered from his travels in the Holy Land. Follow him on Twitter (@WayneStiles) or on his blog at

The walls and gates of Jerusalem have expanded and contracted over the centuries like the breathing of a living being.

The walls of the Old City of Jerusalem are such that we have to enter through the gates—just as people did for thousands of years.

Gates were more than passageways. They served as places for personal business and civic affairs (see Ruth 4:1). Gates often took their names from the distant cities they faced, like Jaffa, Damascus, and Shechem.

The gates of Jerusalem today mostly date from the time when Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt the walls around 1537. Moving counterclockwise around the wall:

Jaffa Gate

Jaffa Gate (

Because the Jaffa Gate also faces Hebron, where Abraham is buried, Arabs call the gate, Bab el-Khalil, “Gate of the Friend,” because of Isaiah 41:8. The gate offers easy access to the Citadel Museum and a walk on the ramparts. General Allenby memorably entered Jerusalem in 1917 through the Jaffa Gate.

Zion Gate

Zion Gate (

Immediately south of this gate sits modern “Mount Zion.” Its Arabic name, Bab Nabi Daud, “Gate of the Prophet David”—came about because David’s tomb supposedly rests on Mount Zion. A misnomer on all counts, biblical Zion (as well as David’s Tomb), rests east of its modern designation. The gate wears a pockmarked facade, voiceless scars from the fierce fighting for the Jewish Quarter in 1948.

Dung Gate

Dung Gate (

The unusual name stems from a gate that stood along the city’s south wall in the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:13). The Targum identifies the Dung Gate as the “Potsherd Gate” of Jeremiah 19:2. In antiquity, the city dump lay in the nearby Hinnom Valley, and the Potsherd Gate served as the exit by which the citizens took out the garbage.

Golden Gate

Golden Gate (

Bricked closed for more than 1,000 years, this gate is sometimes confused with the “Beautiful Gate” of the Second Temple (Acts 3:10). Muslim tradition holds that a conqueror or the Messiah will enter through this gate. Indeed, the Bible does predict the glory of the Lord will enter the Temple by means of “the eastern gate” (Ezekiel 43:4), but who knows if it refers to this one. Regardless, no bricked gate will deter the Messiah.

Stephen’s Gate

Stephen's Gate (

Christians have identified this gate with Stephen’s name in honor of his martyrdom outside the city (Acts 7:58-60). However, Byzantines placed his death outside a northern gate. Another name, “Lion’s Gate,” comes from the stone reliefs of two lions (or panthers or jaguars) that flank the gate.

Herod’s Gate

Herod's Gate (

Sometimes called the “Gate of Flowers,” or Bab ez-Zahar, this gate took Herod’s name in the 16th or 17th century because pilgrims mistook a Mamluk house near the gate to be Herod Antipas’ palace. In this area the Crusaders penetrated the walls to capture the city in 1099.

Damascus Gate

Damascus Gate (

A fine example of Ottoman architecture, this is the most beautiful of the gates of Jerusalem. Excavations below the gate reveal a triple-arched gateway that Hadrian built—the northern extent of the Cardo street from the second century. Outside the gate, an Arab market offers fresh fruit and vegetables. The Jews call it the “Shechem Gate,” and the Arabs refer to it as the "Gate of the Column.”

New Gate

New Gate (

The antiquity of the city walls is betrayed by the “New Gate,” opened in 1887 as a means of convenient northwest access to the Old City. I lodged for a week in the Christian Quarter years ago, grateful for the easy access the New Gate allowed to the city streets.

The Future Gates of Jerusalem

The 8 gates of Jerusalem have stood for centuries. But the Prophet Ezekiel predicted a day when the gates of Jerusalem would total 12—one for each of Israel’s tribes (Ezekiel 48:31-34).

Ezekiel also mentions that when the Messiah reigns in Jerusalem, the city will even receive an additional name: “The Lord is There.”

Wayne Stiles has never recovered from his travels in the Holy Land. Follow him on Twitter (@WayneStiles) or on his blog at