web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Jerusalem’s Old Young Israel

Wilder-012712

Recently my wife and I spent Shabbat in Jerusalem with some friends. They made aliyah a year and a half ago and invited us to spend the day with them in the Holy City.

On Shabbat morning Ken and I, with two of his children, made our way to the Old City, to the Muslim Quarter, about a 35-minute walk. The Jerusalem winter air was crisp, cold and clear. Just as I remember it from when I first lived in Israel, in Jerusalem, some 37 years ago.

As the sun rose, lighting up the sky with a seeming sanctity that might only be sensed in the holiest city in the world, we walked briskly down the street, onto Aza Road, and then down Agron. Crossing the main street we entered an area I’d never visited, the Mamilla promenade. It is really a combination of the old and the new. Externally it has a kind of quaint atmosphere, but the storefronts are far from old-fashioned, selling anything and everything you can imagine, at prices I’m sure aren’t from the Middle Ages.

The walkway led to narrow stone stairs, directly in front of Jaffa Gate, leading into the Old City. As we crossed from the twenty-first century into a time warp going back about 2,000 years, I recalled the first time I’d crossed that threshold, back then. The day after we arrived – it was probably late Friday morning – I stood outside that huge stone wall, waiting for all the group to arrive so that we could all go in together. I remembered the excitement, the anticipation, knowing that in a few moments we’d be marching to the Kotel, the Western Wall, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

It’s a little different today. The “gate” is no longer there, just a big opening, like a hole in the wall. But walking through an almost empty Arab market, down the smooth stone stairs, under arches people are used to seeing only in pictures, it was quite a feeling.

We didn’t make a right turn toward the Kotel, to pray at the Wall. Rather we turned left, into the Muslim Quarter. We walked past a memorial to Elchanan Atali, a young yeshiva student murdered there some 21 years ago. And then, on the left side of the road, we came to a door with a sign hanging on the wall: “Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem.”

Young Israel, of course, is an association of Orthodox synagogues, located primarily in the United States. There are some here in Israel as well. This particular Young Israel is located about 5 minutes from the Kotel, in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Walking up the stairs in what must be a fairly old building, I came to the sanctuary, a small haimish room, with a few people already in attendance. It was then about 7:10.

Standing in the middle of the room, by the pulpit, was an older, scholarly, kindly looking man studying the weekly Torah portion. I introduced myself, telling him we have a mutual friend living in Chicago. He asked if I was from there too; I told him I’m from Hebron. He told me he has a son there. I responded that his son was my youngest son’s teacher in the yeshiva high school in Kiryat Arba.

Then I sat down and listened to his Torah shiur.

Rabbi Nachman Kahana really is a great Torah sage. He has authored well-known books, is an accomplished speaker and a leader of the Jewish presence in the Old City, and here, in the Muslim Quarter, where the Jewish presence has grown by leaps and bounds over the past years, thanks to people like Rabbi Kahana.

And if the name rings a bell, yes, he is the brother of the murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane.

One theme repeated itself in Rabbi Kahana’s talks on Shabbat – the need for Jews to live in Israel. Most of the people attending the rabbi’s synagogue are former Americans who came to live in Israel, some many years ago, others more recently.
There were some young men also in attendance who perhaps hadn’t yet made that fateful decision to stay in Israel rather than return to the U.S. I’m sure his words, which he spoke in both English and Hebrew, didn’t fall on deaf ears.

Whenever he’s in Israel, my friend Jack from Chicago usually turns down my invitations for Shabbat, saying he prefers to be with Rabbi Nachman Kahana in the Old City. Now I know why. It’s an unbelievable experience.

Actually, the Young Israel of the Old City isn’t really so young; it’s a segment of the chain of Jewish history, culture and Torah, adjacent to the holiest place in the world, the Temple Mount.

Rabbi Kahana and his congregation are helping to ensure that this site will remain Jewish forever.

David Wilder is a longtime activist, writer, spokesman and lecturer on behalf of Hebron’s Jewish community, where he resides.

About the Author: David Wilder is the spokesperson for the Hebron Community and a regular contributor to Tazpit News Agency.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Jerusalem’s Old Young Israel”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A third assault in France in which assailant yelled "Allahu Akbar" before attacking others.
Another French ‘Allahu Akbar’ Attack, Driver Slams into Crowd
Latest Indepth Stories
Hanukiyah created world famous Venetian Glass Blower
Maestro Gianni Toso

Let us become modern day Maccabees and seize the day. Embrace the challenge. Fight for Hashem.

Motta Gur overlooks the Old City with his troops during the Six Day War

Har HaBayit is still Biyadein; Through our actions, its fate is in our hands


What does the way we count the days of Chanukah come to teach us about living in the present?

Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

“Mr. Prime Minister, declare a unilateral ceasefire! Remember, Blessed is the peacemaker!”

“D-e-t-e-r-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n!”

Hamas is continuing to prepare its next war against Israel instead of improving conditions in Gaza

If the UN Grants national recognition to Palestine, why stop there? Tibet, Chechnya, Basque…

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

More Articles from David Wilder, Tazpit News Agency
The town of Ma'aleh Adumim as seen from the E1 area, with menorah up front.

Three thousand new apartments should be transformed into 30,000 new apartment buildings.

Hebron Tent City on Shabbat Chaye Sarah

Toward early mid-afternoon the tents start popping up on the lawn in the park across from the Cave of Machpela.

The present Jewish community of Hebron tries to continue walking in the footsteps of our illustrious Forefathers, learning from their deeds, and acting accordingly. Therefore, when Rabbi Shalom Alkobi, then director of the Machpela authority, realized he had an opportunity to seek a blessing from one of our generation’s most righteous people, he did so, without thinking twice.

Last year Minister Saar initiated a new program whereby Israeli schoolchildren would visit Hebron and Ma’arat HaMachpela, the roots of the Jewish people. Since the inception of this program, hundreds of children have visited Hebron.

Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former intelligence agent for the Palestinian Authority, has been sentenced to death, following a hurried trial. His crime: selling property to Jews in Hebron. What would be the reaction to a law in the United States, England, France, or Switzerland, forbidding property sales to Jews?

When the storm-troopers crashed the party early Wednesday afternoon, very few people were home. Most were at their “other homes,” getting ready for Passover. It only took a few minutes for the hundreds of police, border police, soldiers and riot squad to round up a few women and kids, and see them to the door. Quiet, peaceful, almost pastoral. Almost. But not quite.

USAID continues to offer funding to Arab ‘development and humanitarian projects’ in Hebron despite Abu Mazen’s attempt to unilaterally declare a ‘Palestinian state’ at the UN in September 2011.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/jerusalems-old-young-israel/2012/01/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: