שבת ט' בכסלו תשפ"ג 03/12/2022
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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Place

  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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In Jewish Sites

Batei Machse

The neighbourhood of Batei Machse was built by the ‘Kollel of Holland and Germany’, to benefit the poor of Yerushalayim. In the War of Independence it was the last Jewish stronghold in the Old City; from this neighbourhood the last remnants of the Jewish fighters were taken into Jordanian captivity.

Mordechai Zeevi 25/05/2009 12:00
At the southernmost side of the Old City of Jerusalem, near the walls of the Old City, can be found the neighbourhood of ‘Batei Machse’. It was built by members of ‘Kollel Holland and Germany’, which was then headed by Rav Ezriel Hildesheimer zt’l. In those days, the Jews of Jerusalem lived in terrible poverty, and many had become unable to afford the rent of the homes that they paid to the Arab owners. Rav Ezriel became aware of this situation and it prompted him to establish the ‘Friends of Batei Machse for the poor of Mount Zion’. After the establishment of this society, emissaries were sent out to all corners of the Jewish diaspora to collect the funds needed for the building of the new community. The required amount was finally amassed and in the year 5621 building commenced.

The apartments built consisted of two rooms and a tiny kitchen. To the front of the apartments was a large paved courtyard, which contained within it water wells for the use of the inhabitants. Both the size and the quality of the dwellings were exceptional for the times, and a person who merited to receive an apartment was considered extremely fortunate.
The administrators of Kollel Holland and Germany intended that the recipients of the apartments live there for three years without payment of rent, or paying just a token amount. Many Jerusalem residents were eager to receive an apartment and great pressure was put on the administration to try to influence their decisions.

In the end, a third of the apartments were allocated to immigrants from Hungary, a third to those who had immigrated from Holland and Germany, and the final third to other poor immigrants from different countries. However, there were those who argued that since those who originated from Holland, Germany and Hungary were generally not destitute, the majority of the new settlement’s residents were therefore not the very poor. Thus the intentions of the founders had been undermined, since most recipients of apartments had merited them on the basis of their place of origin, rather than owing to their financial situation.

During the War of Independence, Batei Machse was the last area of the Old City to hold out against the arabs. Eventually the Jewish Quarter was forced to surrender and the remaining fighters were exiled from Batei Machse into Jordanian captivity. In the courtyard of the neighbourhood, at the end of Gal Ed street, was located a gravesite where those who fell in the course of the fighting in the Quarter were buried. Although burial within the walls of the Old City is normally forbidden, the rabbonim of the time issued a temporary reprieve, since the area was under siege; after the Six Day War, the bones of the fallen were transferred to the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives – the original site of their burial is still marked.
When the Jewish Quarter was renovated, the area of Batei Machse was also rebuilt, and new buildings were constructed there. Some of the original buildings still remain, including a block of apartments which is now used as a school, and also ‘Rothschild House’, which stands in the middle of the courtyard, and today serves as a Talmud Torah.