Returning Home - Torah dedication in Shiloach Yemenite Village

80 years later, Am Yisrael is once again singing and dancing with Torah scrolls in the streets of the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach.

Daniel Luria, Ateret Cohanim,

Jerusalem
Jerusalem
iStock
In August 1938, during the Arab riots and pogroms, the British Authorities and police expelled the last remaining Yemenite Jewish families from their homes in the Jewish neighborhood of Shiloach. (Kfar Hateimanim) The pathetic British authorities were either unable or unwilling to protect the Jewish residents from the hostile, hate-filled, and marauding Arabs in the area. At its peak there were about 140-150 Yemenite families livng in the area, but by 1938, the neighbourhood was decimated and only 35-40 families remained. They were now being forcibly evicted by the British.
The British High Commisioner promised in writing that the Jewish refugees would be able to shortly return to their homes in their neighborhood. This was a British promise but more importantly, also a British recognition that that there were Jewish refugees and that it was a Jewish neighborhood of Kfar HaShiloach. (And not an Arab neighborhood of Silwan.)
The British never kept their promise and nor did they stand by their commitment. The same applied to the old Yemenite Beit Knesset -Ohel Shlomo. The British had promised to secure and protect the Yemenite Synagogue rooms and its religious holy contents, till the Jews returned.
However when Shlomo Zeevi (Rechavam Zeevi's father) returned to the Synagogue-Beit Knesset one year later, he sadly sees and later notes the total desecration and destruction of the Synagogue -including burnt and torn Torah scrolls unrolled on the floor and holy books strewn all over the rooms.
This was August 1939.
80 years later, the British have thank G-d gone, the British Empire is a byline in history books and there is a modern miraculous and thriving State of Israel with a united Jerusalem as its capital. And we have our own Israeli Police who protect our families.
80 years later, we have returned home to the heart of Jerusalem, and today - August 2017, thanks to the endeavors of Ateret Cohanim, there are once again Jewish families and children living in the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach. (Also known as Silwan, east of the City of David on the southern slopes of the Mount of Olives near the Old City).
80 years later, Am Yisrael is singing and dancing with Torah scrolls in the streets of the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach.
80 years later - 2nd Elul/August 2017 - we are bringing Torah "back to life" in the same old Synagogue and area, where there are 20 beautiful Jewish families living.
The celebration today, of the Hachnasat Sifrei Torah is due to the willingness of 2 families to have their respective Sifrei Torah used by the families in the old Yemenite Village.
Rabbi Yaakov and Elana Kermier (Formally Rabbi of 5th Avenue Synagogue and today Rav in Arnona-Jerusalem) had a sefer torah written in honor of their son's bar mitzvah and wanted the Torah to be temporarily used by a fledgling Jewish community in need.
Ari and Blima Dobner (Efrat) wanted to honor their parents and perfom a mitzvah of writing a sefer Torah and later asked Ateret Cohanim about communities in need.
The "shidduch" was made between the Kermier and Dobner families and Kfar Hateimanim.
There is also a Sefer Torah (Maybe first in over 130 yrs) , currently being written "specifically" for the Yemenite Village by the Lieberman family (NY-
USA) and G-d willing there will be another Hachnasat Sefer Torah in the coming months to the Beit Knesset Ohel Shlomo in Kfar HaTeimanim in the Shiloach.
In the month of Adar 1885, only 3 years after the very first Yemenite Jews (Nadaf and El-Nakash) made the dangerous trek from Senna - Yemen to Jerusalem , in the famous Aliyah-"Aaleh Batamar" (אעלה בתמ"ר), there was the much publicized and joyous dedication of the first buildings in the Yemenite Hekdesh (sanctified communal properties including the Beit Knesset).
At the time - It was written up in the newspaper Havatzelet (Rav Israel Dov Frumkin) and later recorded in the book by Yisrael Zarchi ("Kfar HaShiloach").
"When the time came for mincha prayers, everyone prayed together in a melodious tune that warmed the heart...they even brought in Sifrei Torah with drums, while dancing and singing soft beautiiful Yemenite tunes. The men swayed and danced in front of the Sifrei Torah, in typical Yemenite style, twisitng their hands and crouching down...while the women stood on the outside humming and making these emotional sounds using their hands and mouths...it was an inspirational sight to be seen......"
TODAY AND NOW - 132 years later, Jews from all over Jerusalem (The Old City, Maaleh HaZeitim, Kfar Hateimanim, Kidmat Zion, Abu Tor ..etc), and from around Israel, are once again singing and dancing with Sifrei Torah, (Torah scrolls) from the Shiloach pool at the base of the City of David, into the old Yemenite Village (Kfar Hashiloach) and the original Beit Knesset Ohel Shlomo.
Government ministers, MKs, representatives from the Jerusalem Municipality, Rabbis are all in attendance, together with close to 250-300 Jewish residents form the area (Plus many visitors) and all part of this very symbolic and joyous return to Kfar HaShiloach with Sifrei Torah.
The original Yemenite Beit Knesset (Ohel Shlomo) is thank G-d, back in Jewish hands, but an enormous amount of work needs to be done and serious funds are required to restore the synagogue, back to its previous glory. Only one small room in the original synagogue complex can, and is being used by the renewed Jewish Yishuv in the Shiloach for tefillot-prayers.
For those who wish to be involved in this unique Beit Knesset restoration project or would like to partner Ateret Cohanim in other reclamation(redeeming) work by investing, or maybe help with the renovation, childrens, and or security projects in the area, please make contact with Daniel Luria from Ateret Cohanim. (dljerusalem@gmail.com)

The Torah dedication ceremony will be broadcast live on Arutz Sheva today, Thursday, at 4:30 pm.




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