Restored Hurva synagogue in the Old City
Restored Hurva synagogue in the Old CityIsrael news photo

An “invitation only" joyous ceremony in the Old City in Jerusalem Monday celebrated the restoration of the Hurva synagogue, which came back to life after having been destroyed by the Jordanians in the War for Independence in 1948.

Muslim and Palestinian Authority leaders claim that Monday’s dedication is a “provocation” and the prelude to a Jewish takeover of the Temple Mount. Security is heavy in the Old City as thousands of Arabs and Bedouin head for the capital"to defend" the Al-Aksa mosque.

“Hurva” literally means “ruin” and is located in the heart of the Old City, where a new Torah scroll was ushered into the rebuilt house of worship in Sunday. The original building stood as a landmark in the 16th century, and its well known feature in modern times was the 50-foot arch that remained standing after the Jordanian occupation. That arch now is part of the completed synagogue.

Valuable items of Judaica, such as a platinum menorah and works of silver, were stolen by the Jordanians and never returned. Jordan barred Jews from visiting the site as well as the Western Wall (Kotel) while it controlled the area.. It also prohibited Christians from visiting their holy sites, but Israel opened the gates of religious freedom when the Old City was restored to the Jewish State in the Six-Day War in 1967.

The destruction in 1948 wasn’t the first time it was demolished. Muslims had lent Jews money in the 1700s to build the house of worship but destroyed it after the Jewish community, living in poverty, was unable to repay the debt.

The restored synagogue, a replica of the synagogue as it stood in the 19th century, is the result of four years of work.

Video: Arutz Sheva visits new synagogue and hears an explanation about its restoration