Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

16 Tammuz 5766 - July 12, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Mayor Lupoliansky Initiates Project to Restore and Elevate Old City Shuls

By Betzalel Kahn

Jerusalem Mayor Rabbi Uri Lupoliansky has initiated a project to restore and elevate two important botei knesses in the Old City, making them higher than the churches and mosques, thereby bringing back a Jewish look to the Jerusalem skyline.

In the first phase the Jerusalem Municipality, in cooperation with the Jewish Quarter Development Company, will perform extensive work to rebuild and raise the Churva and Tiferes Yisroel shuls, which were Jerusalem's highest and most splendid botei knesses until the War of 5708 (1948) after which they were dynamited by Jordan when it controlled the area.

Development work is already underway at the Churva, which was built three centuries ago by R' Yehuda the Chassid and served as a center of Ashkenazi communal life in the city. The shul was destroyed by the Turks and lay in ruins for over a hundred years until Moshe Montefiore had it rebuilt. The tallest, most impressive building in the Jewish Quarter, it served as the heart of Jewish life and the spiritual center of the Jewish Quarter until it was again razed, this time by the Jordanians.

The task of raising and rebuilding the shul will cost NIS 28 million ($6.4 million). Upon completion one year from now the beis knesses will once again serve as an important spiritual center in the Jewish Quarter and will tower even higher than the Al-Aqsa Mosque, lehavdil.

Beis Knesses Tiferes Yisroel, the other building included in the project, was built by HaRav Nisan Bak, the late rov of the Chassidic community of the Old Yishuv. It was notable for its grand dome, high enough to be seen for miles. Like the Churva, it has also lain in ruins ever since the Jordanians exploded it in 5708 (1948). The construction work at the site will cost NIS 30 million ($6.8 million) and will include the restoration of the magnificent dome, making it visible once again from almost every part of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Mayor Rabbi Lupoliansky said, "The project, now in the initial stages, will provide the Old City the proper appearance and will restore to the Jerusalem skyline the Jewish flavor that has been missing since the large botei knesses were destroyed in the Old City."


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