Anyone can open a Judaica store in Jerusalem. But it takes a certain level of creativity to open the largest multistory Judaica store in the Old City of Jerusalem (and possibly all of Jerusalem) and then turn it into a living museum, where tour guides bring students, not to buy the Judaica, but to show them how a Mezuzah is written, how Tzizit are woven, and an authentic ancient Torah scroll parchment from Yemen.
Walking on Chabad street in the Old City, we noticed a new bookstore called “The Fifth Quarter” (21 Chabad Street).
Walking in the unassuming entrance, we were taken back by the sheer size of the place (most stores in the Old City are quite small).
We weren’t sure if this was a store or a museum – a tour guide was there, with a few dozen high school students sitting on the floor. He was explaining the different instruments of Judaism to them. Other tour groups were coming in as their guides explained to them what they were looking at.
The young owners Eli and Udi were more than happy to show us around.
Hanging on the wall is the largest Mezuzah in the world that was commissioned for a shul (another one is in the works). Next to it is the scribe’s workshop.
There’s an ancient parchment from a Yemenite Torah (the dark parchment in the middle of the photo above).
There’s a loom for making Tallitot (Taleisim), and a lot of very unusual Jewish artwork for sale. There’s even a fish tank with Chilazon (snails) in them, that are used for making Techelet (the special blue color that are added to Tallit strings).
If you find yourself walking in the Old City of Jerusalem this summer, you must stop at The Fifth Quarter and take a look – it’s a real learning experience.
The store/museum also has a entrance, one flight down, in the Cardo (15 Cardo Street).