No Longer in Ruins

Editorial

Published March 17, 2010, issue of March 26, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

There is plenty to criticize when considering the Israeli government’s recent actions and statements on the future of Jerusalem, but that should not diminish its achievement in restoring the ancient Hurva Synagogue in the heart of the Old City’s Jewish Quarter.

For years, all that remained of the synagogue was a stunning reconstruction of its stone arch looming above the structure’s ruins. A Jewish presence has graced, or sometimes haunted, the site since the 2nd century. A synagogue, built in the early 1700s, was destroyed in 1720 by frustrated Muslim creditors. A new structure was begun in 1855 and upon completion a decade later became known as the most impressive synagogue in the land of Israel, designed as it was by the Ottoman sultan’s own architect.

Destroyed again by the Jordanians in 1948, the Hurva (whose very name means “ruin”) lay desolate until the Six-Day War, and even afterward, the reconstruction of this historically rich site in this sensitive city was long delayed. The five-year project that resulted in a rededication ceremony on March 15 proved that the Hurva was not a prisoner of its past but a stubborn reminder of the Jews’ ancient ties to the land and the city.

It was deeply unfortunate that some Palestinian leaders used the Hurva’s rebirth as an excuse for rage and violence. The project posed no threat to Palestinian interests. It did not expand Israel’s footprint. It simply restored a profoundly important religious building and reclaimed a part of history.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.