Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue to be rehabilitated

Symbolizing Jewish hold on Old City, works for restoring Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue in Jewish Quarter to begin tomorrow.

Mordechai Sones ,

Ruins of Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue
Ruins of Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue
Flash 90

The cornerstone of the Tiferet Yisrael synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem was laid today with participation of Jerusalem Minister Zeev Elkin, Construction Minister Yoav Galant, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon.

The Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue was established by the Ruzhin hasidim among the members of the Old Yishuv and was destroyed by the Jordanians immediately after their occupation of the Old City in 1948.

Four years ago archaeological excavations by the Antiquities Authority led by archaeologist Oren Gutfeld began and a variety of archaeological finds were discovered, including a Second Temple era weight that apparently belonged to the High Priest's family mentioned in the Talmud, Katros - engraved with the family name in Hebrew script "Barei Katros - Sons of Katros".

In the past year and after completing the archaeological excavations, the Jewish Quarter Rehabilitation and Development Company evacuated about 3,500 tons of material and stone manually so as not to damage the site, and construction work is now underway.

Elkin lays corner stone

The synagogue's renovation and restoration work will begin tomorrow, expected to reach a height of 25 meters. Works are expected to stretch over four years. In the first stage, construction work will focus on three underground floors ten meters below ground, and the lower level will serve as an exhibition of antiquities and mikvahs discovered on site. Above the three levels the Tiferet Yisrael synagogue will be rebuilt to a height of 25 meters. The total cost of the project is estimated at NIS 50 million.

"Today, when Israel's self-defense capability is in its own hands, we swear that events like the destruction of the synagogue will not be repeated," Galant said at the ceremony.

Minister Elkin said "the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue is a symbol of our hold on the Old City. The story of the synagogue from the stage of raising funds for its construction is a story of Jewish daring. It isn't coincidental that this synagogue and the Hurva synagogue served as positions for fighters who defended Jerusalem during the War of Independence, and both synagogues were destroyed by Arab rioters. Just as we restored the Hurva Synagogue, so will we also restore Tiferet Yisrael.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman said "rebuilding the Great Tiferet Yisrael Ruzhin Synagogue is a moving message to Jerusalem and the Ruzhin hasidim in particular. Today I visited the Rebbe of Boyan, heir of the Ruzhin dynasty, who praised the important ceremony and the steps to rebuild the synagogue. He congratulated Minister Yoav Galant on the great privilege that fell to his lot in redeeming the place, as this is a continuation of his activity to settle and build the land."

Jerusalem Mayor Leon said "laying this cornerstone, the State's decision to restore Tiferet Yisrael to its glory, is an expression of respect, a gesture, to love of Tzion in its broader sense, because this synagogue is a symbol of the more religious, faith-based side of our return to our land than the pioneering and practical side."

Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem Chairman of the Board of Directors Moti Rinkov said "the renovation and restoration of the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter is one of the most important and exciting projects I've taken part in. Rebuilding the synagogue is in fact raising the Israeli flag in the Jewish Quarter. It's truly a work where they're restoring the crown to its former glory and restoring glory to the Jewish People."