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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  • 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 Avraham Avinu Synagogue

The ‘Avraham Avinu’ synagogue in Hebron was build around five hundred years ago. During the riots of 5689 (1929CE) it was destroyed by the Arabs, and was only rebuilt much later during the reconstruction of the Jewish residential area of Hebron.

M. Shorek 23/09/2009 14:00
Around five hundred years ago, Jewish exiles who had been banished from Spain arrived in Hebron under the leadership of Harav Malchiel Ashkenazi. They bought a tract of land where they built a neighbourhood set up as a large enclosed courtyard, at whose centre they erected the Avraham Avinu synagogue.

The following story will explain the naming of the synagogue – the story is brought in the sefer ‘Emek haMelech’ on the topic of the city of Hebron, authored by Rav Naftali ben Rav Yaakov Katz:

“I would like to relate something amazing that transpired on Yom Kippur in Hebron. All the inhabitants of Hebron are holy people. On one erev Yom Kippur, there were only nine adult men present in the city, and they were waiting for the Jews from the outlying villages to arrive to make up a minyan. However, soon it became apparent that nobody would be coming, since the villagers had travelled instead to the holy city of Yerushalayim. Thus it was that nine men waited despondently in Hebron, full of anguish that they would have to daven without a minyan on Yom Kippur – they all cried bitterly, as the sun started to dip towards the horizon and the day drew to a close. Suddenly, they noticed from afar the figure of an old man approaching them. They became filled with joy, and when he arrived, they offered to prepare for him a meal, the ‘seudah hamafsekes’, but he refused, saying that he had already eaten whilst travelling, and he blessed them for their offer.

“Thus did they eventually daven with a minyan on Yom haKadosh, and they accorded their guest great respect. On motzo’ei Yom Kippur they began to debate amongst themselves, since each person wished to have the honour of inviting the guest to his home. Finally they decided to draw lots, and the winner was the chazzan, a great and pious man who merited seeing wondrous visions in his dreams. The chazzan started for his home, with the guest following. When they had nearly arrived, the chazzan turned around to invite the guest to enter before him… but saw that he was nowhere to be found. He searched for him, but could not find him, not in any of the courtyards. All who heard of the disappearance were greatly distressed, since they assumed he had left to travel onwards that very night, not having wanted to impose on anyone. But that night the guest came to the chazzan in a dream, and told him that he was in fact Avraham Avinu alav ha’shalom, who had come to Hebron in order to complete the minyan, since he had seen their great sorrow that they were missing one person from the requisite ten – and they had then been full of joy that they had eventually merited to daven with a minyan, and had praised Hashem for helping them.”

During the riots of 5689 the Jews of Hebron were viciously attacked, and many murdered by their Arab neighbours, and the Jewish Quarter was plundered and destroyed. The Arabs also destroyed the ancient synagogue. After the Jordanians conquered the area in 5708, they set up public lavatories and stalls for donkeys and goats on its site.

After the liberation of Hebron in the year 5727, the restoration project of the Jewish Quarter of Hebron began. A few years later, in 5731, a new immigrant from the Soviet Union, Professor Ben Tzion Tabger z’l, went on a guided walking tour in Hebron. When they reached the site of the goat pen, the tour guide mentioned that a synagogue had once stood there – and the Professor was astounded. “Goats wander around and dirty this holy place – a place that was used for prayer for four hundred years?! And the Jewish authorities just watch it happen and shrug their shoulders?” Starting from that very day, the Professor began his determined struggle to rescue the synagogue from its degradation. Many volunteers joined the Professor in his campaign, but their task was far from simple – they were prevented from continuing with their work at the site time after time by the police, who claimed that they were trespassing there, since the location had been rented out to an Arab. Professor Tabger and his helpers, however, did not give up, and eventually they reached a turning point when the Prime Minister of the time, Yitzchak Rabin, along with the Minister of Defense Shimon Peres gave them official permission to remove the mounds of dirt and debris at the site – of course, this was far from actually seeing the structure rebuilt.

In the year 5741 (1981CE) the government decided to re-establish a Jewish residential presence in Hebron, and it was only then that official permission was given to rebuild the synagogue on the remains of the destroyed building. Eventually, all the effort that had been invested towards this goal bore fruit.

Professor Tabger continued to be active in the project, and concurrently he was also involved in the restoration of the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron, which had also been desecrated and destroyed by the Arabs after the pogroms of 5689.

As of today, the Avraham Avinu synagogue is once again thriving, and regular minyanim take place there, as well as shiurei Torah.

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