Hurva Synagogue to be Rebuilt

The Cabinet has upgraded the status of Jerusalem's Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, and plans to rebuild it once again.

Hillel Fendel,

The Cabinet has upgraded the status of the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, including it in the purview of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.  The dome has been rebuilt, and the plan is to totally rebuild the twice-destroyed synagogue.

The synagogue is located in the main square of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City.

The Cabinet decision included a review of the history of the famous synagogue, which was built and destroyed several times, leading to its being nicknamed the Hurva (ruins) Synagogue.  The land on which it stands was purchased in October 1700 by a group of Ashkenazi Jews headed by Rabbi Yehuda the Hassid of the Polish town of Shadlitz.

The goal was to build an Ashkenazi synagogue in Jerusalem, but a short time later, Rabbi Yehuda passed away, and his followers were unable to fund the construction work.  It stood half-built for 20 years, until it was destroyed by local Moslems. 

During the 1800's, Ashkenazi Jews returned to Jerusalem, and they decided to build the synagogue anew.  In the Hebrew month of Nissan of 1853, the construction began, funded by Sir Moses Montefiore, and in Elul of 1864, a large, new, glorious synagogue was dedicated on the site.

The building stood for 84 years, until a Jordanian shell destroyed it in the course of the fall of the Old City to the Jordanians during the War of Independence.  Only the foundation and several pillars remained standing.

After Israel liberated the Old City during the Six Day War of 1967, it reconstructed one of the four arches that supported the large dome atop the building.  This arch became a symbol of the Hurva synagogue, and of many aspects of the Old City in general.

More refurbishing work is presently underway there, and the plan is to rebuild the synagogue altogether.  The work is being carried out by the government-owned East Jerusalem Development Company, which has full rights to the property.  The government decision stipulated that the Heritage Foundation will work together with the company in the future.

The Foundation's function is to develop, preserve and maintain the Western Wall plaza and surroundings for the benefit of worshipers and visitors.  It must initiate and encourage trips and tours of the area for schools, soldiers and tourists, and in general encourage educational activities regarding the Western Wall.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, rabbi of the Western Wall and Chairman of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, told Arutz-7, "We accept this additional mission with great responsibility.  The Hurva was a very important and central site, and it must be built up to be a site that will bring as many people as possible close to Torah and the Holy Temple."

The East Jerusalem Development Company is currently engaged in developing many sites in the Old City, including a cable car to Mt. Zion, the Ophel Park along the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, the Tzidkiyahu Cave between Herod's Gate and Damascus Gate, walks along the ramparts, the Roman Square inside the Damascus Gate, and the Gihon Spring in the City of David.  Another site that local residents hope will join the list is the Kotel HaKatan (the Small Wall) - a small segment of the northern extension of the Western Wall.



More Arutz Sheva videos:


top