What was life like in pre-1948 Jerusalem? Videos of those who lived it are being collected for a unique archive collection.

The project was launched in the Old City Thursday afternoon. It will include some 50 video interviews with people who lived in Jerusalem before the State of Israel was founded.

Today’s launch began with a short address by Minister Without Portfolio Benny Begin, son of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin. He emphasized the importance of documenting the history of Jewish life in the Land of Israel in general, and in Jerusalem in particular.

Also in attendance were Mrs. Cherna Moskowitz, the sponsor of the project, as well as Rabbi Shlomi Attias, the director of the Jewish Quarter Development Association, Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, and families of some of those participating in the “remember Jerusalem” project.

At today’s launch, a tour of parts of the Jewish Quarter and other parts of the Old City was held. At one point, Mr. Meir Shalom brought tears of excitement to the eyes of many participants when he returned – for the first time! – to the house he lived in more than 60 years ago. He emphasized how different his childhood home looks now, saying, “Now there are buildings and nice sidewalks, but I remember only dirt paths here.”

In the framework of the project, some 300 people who lived in Jerusalem before ‘48 were contacted, among whom 50 were video-interviewed. The goal is to show a comprehensive and varied picture of life in the Old City before 1948.

The Moskowitz Foundation has recently initiated a similar project, called the Moskowitz Archives for Jerusalem Research. The objective is to collect all forms of information regarding pre-’48 Jerusalem life. Staffers are hard at work interviewing former residents, perusing archives, libraries, albums, internet sites and more in the search for the information. Ultimately, an interactive website will make the results available to the public.