Friday, May 29, 2015

Silwan synagogue re-dedicated after 77 years

Seventy seven years after the British made the Yemenite Jews of Kfar Shiloah (Silwan) in east Jerusalem leave for their own safety, a historic synagogue once again echoed to the sound of Jewish prayers, music and singing. Arutz Sheva reports: For the first time in 77 years, festive Jewish prayers were held on Monday in one of modern Jerusalem's oldest synagogues: The long-hidden and inaccessible Hechal Shlomo of the Yemenite village.

Dozens of people took part in the joyous festivities, which marked the full circle of Jewish settlement in eastern Jerusalem. Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) – amidst traditional Yemenite Jewish prayers, music and foods, and some Ashkenazim and Sepharadim as well – took part in the re-dedication of the synagogue. Affixing the mezuzah to the doorpost, he recited the traditional blessings, including "Blessed is He Who restores the borders of the widow."

It was back in 1885 that Yisrael Dov Frumkin founded the village, built the synagogue, and paved the way for some 65 Yemenite Jewish families to live on the slopes of the Mt. of Olives. Most of the land land had been contributed by a Zionist philanthropist known as Boaz HaBavli.

The settlement thrived, but in the 1930's, the Arab riots that engulfed the Land of Israel did not pass over the Yemenite Village. The British rulers told the Jews that they could not protect them and that they must leave, but promised to look after their property and that they could later return.

Daniel Luria of the Ateret Cohanim Association, which oversaw the modern return to the synagogue, explained what happened next: "A year later, Shlomo Ze'evi – father of the famous Rehavam (Gandi) Ze'evi – stood in this very synagogue, and was shocked and angered at the destruction that the Arabs had wrought here." There was also great bitterness at the British and their promises; the Jews were not allowed to return to their homes.

Now, years later, Ateret Cohanim and many happy Jews were able to return and celebrate another milestone in the national return of the Jewish People to their sacred homeland. This followed great efforts in re-purchasing the Jewish owned properties, resettling Jewish families in various buildings around the neighborhood, and carefully identifying each structure.

Read article in full
Yemenite Jews were first in Silwan

No comments: