Ramban Synagogue

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Ramban Synagogue
Ramban shul.jpg
Interior, 2006
Basic information
Location ha-Yehudim Street
Old City of Jerusalem
Affiliation Orthodox Judaism

The Ramban Synagogue (Hebrew: בית כנסת הרמב"ן‎), is the second oldest active synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. According to tradition, it was founded by Nahmanides (Ramban) in 1267,[1] although the connection with him is dubious.[2] Today it is located at the corner of Ha-Yehudim Street and the square in the Jewish Quarter.

Features[edit]

The foundation of the building comprises vaults resting on Romanesque and Byzantine capitals. Along with the fact that there are no Gothic or Islamic architectural features, this suggests that the original building predates the Crusader period.

The synagogue is located three meters below street level, to comply with Muslim restrictions for Dhimmi houses of prayer not to be higher than mosques.[3]

History[edit]

13th century[edit]

Old Yishuv
A sepia photograph shows three elderly Jewish men sporting beards and holding open books, posing for the camera. Against a backdrop of leafy vegetation, the man in the centre sits, wearing a black hat and caftan, while the two others stand, wearing lighter clothes and turbans.
Jewish life in the Land of Israel
Key events
Aliya of Nachmanides (1267)
Hebron and Safed massacres (1517)
Revival of Tiberias (1563) • Sack of Tiberias (1660) • Hebron massacre (1834) • Safed attack (1838) • Jerusalem expansion • Petach Tikva founded (1878)
Key figures
Ishtori Haparchi (d. 1313) • Joseph Saragossi (d. 1507) • Obadiah MiBartenura (d. 1515) • Levi ibn Habib (d. 1545) • Jacob Berab (d. 1546) • Joseph Nasi (d. 1579) • Moses Galante (d. 1689) • Moses ibn Habib (d. 1696) • Yehuda he-Hasid (d. 1700) • Haim Abulafia (d. 1744) • Menachem Mendel (d. 1788) • Haim Farhi (d. 1820) • Jacob Saphir (d. 1886) • Haim Aharon Valero (d. 1923)
Economy
Etrog cultivation • Winemaking
Banking • Printing
Kosher soap production
Philanthropy
Kollel • Halukka
(Montefiore • Judah Touro)
Communities
Musta'arabimSephardimPerushimHasidim

Jerusalem (Mea Shearim • Mishkenot Sha'ananim) • HebronSafed TiberiasJaffaHaifaPeki'in AccoNablusGazaKafr Yasif Shefa-'AmrPetach Tikva

Synagogues
Great Academy of Paris (1258)
Ramban (1267) • Abuhav (1490s)
Abraham Avinu (1540)  • Ari (1570s)
Johanan ben Zakai (1600s)
Hurva (1700) • Tifereth Israel (1872)
Related articles
History of the Jews and Judaism in the Land of IsraelHistory of Zionism (Timeline) • Haredim and ZionismEdah HaChareidisShaDaRYishuvThree Oaths

After the Disputation of Barcelona, Nahmanides was exiled from Aragon, and in 1267 he made aliyah to the Land of Israel. In an alleged letter[2] to his son, he described the Jewish community of Jerusalem devastated by the Crusades:

Seventy two years old, he undertook the effort to rebuild the Jewish community and chose a ruined house on Mount Zion to reconstruct it as a synagogue. A number of Jews moved to Jerusalem after hearing of Nahmanides' arrival. The Torah scrolls that were evacuated to Shechem before the Mongol invasion were returned. In three weeks, for Rosh Hashanah, the synagogue was ready for use.

16th century[edit]

Shown in the Casale Pilgrim (16th-century)

In 1586, the synagogue was closed under the order of the Turkish governor of Jerusalem.[3] Subsequently, the Sephardi community established their center in the adjacent place, where the academy belonging to the tanna Yochanan ben Zakai was said to have stood during the Second Temple period. Today the Yochanan ben Zakai Synagogue stands there.

19th century[edit]

In 1835, the leaders of the community managed to obtain a permission from the Ottoman authorities for the renovation of the synagogues, which were unified into a single unit.

20th century[edit]

Over the years, the building has been the home to the Sephardi community, was converted into a mosque after being confiscated by a Mufti, and was used as a flour mill and a cheese factory. Today it is used by the Ashkenazi community.

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the building was destroyed by the Arab Legion. As a result of the 1967 Six-Day War, Jews regained their right to the property, and 700 years after the Ramban revived the ancient building, the synagogue was reopened.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Ramban Synagogue; Hope Amidst Despair by Larry Domnitch (The Jewish Magazine)
  2. ^ a b Norman Roth (8 April 2014). "Synagogues". Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 622. ISBN 978-1-136-77155-2. 
  3. ^ a b Sephardic Synagogues of Old Jerusalem

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°46′29.99″N 35°13′52.48″E / 31.7749972°N 35.2312444°E / 31.7749972; 35.2312444