Government plans museum at Rabbi Kook's house

Amidst attempts to turn Rabbi Kook's house into a real estate venture, government pledged to develop the site into a full-fledged museum.

Yoni Kempinski,

Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook
Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook
Courtesy

The State of Israel is to invest four million shekels towards the maintenance and development of Beit Harav, the house where Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook lived and studied Torah and the original home of Merkaz Harav Yeshiva which he founded.

Rabbi Kook was the first Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi during the British Mandate, and an influential Zionist thinker and Jewish leader. His thought has provided the basis for "Religious Zionism" in Israel.

The declaration manifests a clear government stance on the future of the house in the face of attempts of those claiming ownership over the house to sell it, since it is located on prime real estate in the center of Jerusalem.

According to Yochanan Fried, Chairman of the Rabbi Kook house exhibit, after the government declared the house to be a national heritage site, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Zeev Elkin decided to invest three million shekels to renovate the house and turn it into a full-fledged museum, while the city municipality is to contribute another million shekels towards that end.

Regarding the developments, Reuven Pinsky of the Office of Jerusalem Affairs noted, "The government is interested in turning the site from an outdated little site into a vibrant museum. As far as we are concerned, just as nobody would think to build an apartment complex on Ben-Gurion's house, so we won't allow Rabbi Kook's house to turn into a real estate venture."

And it is not only to be a museum, but a live place for Torah learning. Rabbi Kook's home was left by the donor who purchased it for him, to "those who continue in his ways." When the flagship religious Zionist Merkaz Harav yeshiva outgrew the house, it moved to a new building in Kiryat Moshe, but a kollel of post IDF Merkaz HaRav students headed by Rabbi Avraham Sylvetsky, has been studying Torah every evening in the revered rabbi's Beit Midrash since last year, with plans for spiritual outreach work aimed at the young people who frequent the center of town where Beit Harav is located.




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