Yemin Moshe was established in 1891 with the financial support of British Jewish banker Moses Montefiore outside Jerusalem's Old City as a solution to the overcrowding and unsanitary conditions inside the walls, and eventually named for him. Few people were anxious to live there at the time, because the area was open to Arab marauders. The original houses were built with a wall around them and a gate that was locked at night. Montefiore left an indelible mark on the Jerusalem landscape by building the landmark Montefiore Windmill in Yemin Moshe. In addition to the windmill (to provide cheap flour to poor Jews), he built a printing press and textile factory, and helped to finance several agricultural colonies. He also attempted to acquire arable land for Jewish cultivation, but was hampered by Ottoman restrictions on land sale to non-Muslims.
Mishkenot Sha'ananim, as the first houses were known, consisted of two rows of buildings. The first was completed by 1860 and contained 28 apartments of one-and-a-half rooms. The compound also had a water cistern with an iron pump imported from England, a mikveh and a communal oven.
The second row of houses was built in 1866 when a cholera epidemic was at its height in the Old City. Some of the people who took up residence in the new neighborhood refused to stay there at night, but that year, the demand for apartments rose as illness spread.
The Montefiore Windmill was built in Yemin Moshe with the idea of weaning the residents from their reliance on the halukka, or charity. Moses Montefiore, the British Jewish philanthropist who founded the neighborhood, believed that a mill could provide them with a source of livelihood, but it never became operative.
Yemin Moshe is now an upscale neighborhood surrounded by gardens with a panoramic view of the Old City walls. The original complex of buildings has been turned into a cultural center and guesthouse for writers, intellectuals and musicians. The windmill, as the hallmark of Yemin Moshe, is featured in paintings and literature about Jerusalem and marks the Jewish expansion of the city towards the west.
- Daniella Kertesz, actress
- "More information about Yemin Moshe". Jafi.org.il. 2005-05-15. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
- "Jerusalem - Beyond the Old City Walls". Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. 1946-07-22. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
- See, for example, Thrope, Samuel (21 March 2011), "The Metamorphosis: Jonathan Kis-Lev's Jerusalems", Zeek, a Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture, retrieved 5 December 2011
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