The Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem incorporates many holy and historical sites, and is an outstanding starting point for any tour of Jerusalem. Every step you take in the Jewish Quarter brings you closer to discovering tangible remains of a dramatic chapter in Jewish history, especially of the period of its greatest grandeur: the time of the Second Temple. This period is richly commemorated at the Bumt House and the Herodian Mansions.
In the Jewish Quarter, between the alleyways of the Old City, you will find sites that are both well known and new, restaurants, and other surprises that will turn your outing into something special. . "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee" (Psalms 122).
The Burnt House
At the Burnt House, whose exact date of destruction – a month after the Second Temple fell – was determined by finds there, a stirring audio-visual presentation shares with visitors to the complexities of Jewish life at this time.
At the Herodian Mansions, visitors discover how wealthy Jerusalemites were 2,000 years ago.
In the centuries that followed, Jerusalem once again flourished, as archaeologists discovered and restored in the heart of the quarter. The colonnaded Cardo or Main Street of the city.
Nearby are remnants of Jerusalem's walls from the time of the First Temple, which fell to the Babylonians with its destruction in 586 BCE.
Into that rich and varied mix, comes evidence if the Jewish experience in the Middle Ages, when the Ramban Synagogue was founded, the Four Sephardic Synagogues restored to their former grandeur and attesting to vibrant community life, and the landmark Hurva Synagogue.
The Hurvah Synagogue, known as the Ruin Synagogue, was first built in the early 18th century by the followers of Rabbi Yehuda ha-Hasid (Judah the Pious). Built alongside a plaza at the center of the Jewish Quarter, the Hurva Synagogue itself has spent much of its history in ruins. Just a few years after it was first built, Rabbi Yehuda ha-Hasid died, leaving his community without a leader and unable to pay their creditors, who ultimately destroyed the synagogue. After sitting in ruins for 140 years, the synagogue was rebuilt in 1864 by Lithuanian Jewish immigrants to Palestine.
After serving for almost 100 years as the main Askenazi synagogue, it was again destroyed in 1948 during the War of Independence. Since the Old City was recaptured by the Israelis during the 1967 Six Day War Plans, plans have been in the works to rebuild the synagogue in the domed, Ottoman style of its 19th century construction. A commemorative arch was built in 1977 and served as a monument until the synagogue was finally rebuilt and dedicated in March 2010.
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