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

The Ohr haChaim Synagogue

The Ohr haChaim Synagogue is located on Ohr haChaim Street in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, and was founded around 230 years ago by Rabbeinu Chaim ben Attar ztz’l, known as the Ohr HaChaim

M. Shorek 25/08/2009 12:00

In the year 5502 Rabbeinu Chaim ben Attar ascended from Morocco to Eretz Israel, travelling via Livorno in Italy. The voyage was fraught with difficulties, but he was not deterred by the dangers and tribulations, and continued onwards towards the Holy Land, travelling through forests and deserts where bandits as well as wild animals lurked. When he finally reached Eretz Israel he settled in the Galil region for a while, after which he made Jerusalem his place of residence.

When he reached Jerusalem in the year 5503, he founded with the assistance of donations from the wealthy Jews of Livorno, the yeshivah of ‘Knesset Yisrael’ and the attached synagogue. However, not long afterwards, before scarcely a year had passed since he had moved his residence to the Holy City, Rabbeinu Chaim was niftar. The yeshivah and the synagogue which he had founded continued to function even after his passing. Gedolim from the Sefardi community learned in the yeshivah, which remained a vibrant center of learning until the end of the 19th century ce. In the mid 19th century ce the synagogue changed its nusach from Sefardi to Ashkenazi.

In the days before the War of Independence and up until the fall of the Jewish Quarter, the building containing the synagogue and yeshivah were used by the Haganah as military outposts to defend from attacks from the Armenian Quarter, until the Jews of the Old City were defeated by the Jordanians.

After the War of Independence, the building remained in Jordanian hands, and only after the Six-Day War did it return to being under Jewish control, when it was acquired by the Weingarten family, who renovated it along with the entire surrounding area, and established there the ‘Old Yishuv Court Museum’, whose aim was to create a remembrance of the culture and way of life which had existed in the Jewish Quarter before it was captured in the War of Independence.

In addition to its historical links with the holy Ohr haChaim, behind the synagogue is also to be found the house in which the Ari haKadosh was born in the year 5294.

The form of the building:

The building of the synagogue has been preserved in its original form until today, with no fundamental alterations having been made from the time of its establishment. All the separate rooms adjoin a small internal courtyard. In the courtyard is a well which once served to collect rainwater, and to the left of the entrance is a bench, upon which bowls were once placed for the ritual washing of the hands of all who entered the beis knesses.

The shape of the sanctuary itself is square, with a wide recess on the eastern wall for the Aron haKodesh. The ladies’ section was a separate room, apart from the main sanctuary, and so the ladies were not able to see what went on in the men’s part of the synagogue at all. Underneath the ladies’ gallery is a mikvah, in which, according to tradition, Rabbeinu Chaim ben Attar would immerse and purify himself before davening; there is a direct passage-way between the mikvah and the prayer sanctuary. Likewise, there is access to the roof, where, according to tradition, the Ohr haChaim would learn in seclusion. The museum also has an impressive collection of notices and posters from former times.

Despite its limited size, the Ohr haChaim synagogue, during the periods in which it was in use as beis knesses and yeshivah, was an amazingly ordered complex. Every hall and room was decorated in the manner of the times and an atmosphere of kedushah was constantly palpable, which enveloped all those who entered.

יחיאל
Entrance to the Mikve in the Shul
צלם
מכללת מקור המעיינות "תלמדו מהמקור"
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Birkat Hachama Notice
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יחיאל
Entrance of Building
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יחיאל

Entrance to Roof, where it's said that the Ohr Hachaim
would go to learn in seclusion.

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יחיאל
the Yard
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יחיאל
Mr Weingarten in the Shul צלם