Zikhron Ya'akov

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Zichron Ya'akov
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Hebrew זִכְרוֹן יַעֲקֹב
 • ISO 259 Zichron Yaˁaqob
 • Also spelled Zichron Ya'aqov (official)
Zichron Yaakov (unofficial)
HaMeyasdim Street in Zichron Ya'akov
HaMeyasdim Street in Zichron Ya'akov
Official logo of Zichron Ya'akov
Emblem of Zichron Ya'akov
Zichron Ya'akov is located in Israel
Zichron Ya'akov
Zichron Ya'akov
Coordinates: 32°34′15″N 34°57′06″E / 32.57083°N 34.95167°E / 32.57083; 34.95167Coordinates: 32°34′15″N 34°57′06″E / 32.57083°N 34.95167°E / 32.57083; 34.95167
District Haifa
Founded 1882
Government
 • Type Local council
 • Head of Municipality Eli Abutbul
Area
 • Total 32,129 dunams (32.129 km2 or 12.405 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 • Total 18,719
Name meaning Jacob's Memorial
Building wine barrels, 1890s

Zichron Ya'akov (Hebrew: זִכְרוֹן יַעֲקֹב, lit. "Jacob's Memorial"; often shortened to just Zichron) is a town in Israel, 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Haifa, and part of the Haifa District. It is located at the southern end of the Carmel mountain range overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, near the coastal highway (Highway 2). It was one of the first Jewish settlements of Halutzim in the country, founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild and named in honor of his father.[1]

History[edit]

Zichron Ya'akov was founded in December 1882 when 100 Jewish pioneers from Romania, members of the Hovevei Zion movement, purchased land in Zammarin.[2] The difficulty of working the rocky soil and an outbreak of malaria led many of the settlers to leave before the year was up.[2]

In 1883, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild became the patron of the settlement and drew up plans for its residential layout and agricultural economy. Zichron was one of the first Jewish agricultural colonies to come under the wing of the Baron (along with Rishon LeZion and Rosh Pinna), who renamed it in memory of his father, James (Ya'akov) Mayer de Rothschild.[1][2]

To accomplish his first objective, Baron de Rothschild brought in planners who designed and allotted housing lots along the main road for the use of settlement farmers. Each lot included a house facing the street, a long interior courtyard and a rear building for storing agricultural implements. The French-inspired architecture included tiled roofs and painted wooden windows. Each farmer was given a salary and placed under the direction of Elijah Shaid, the Baron's clerk. The Baron also commissioned the construction of the Ohel Ya'akov Synagogue, named after his father, to serve the town.[3] Sparing no expense to build the edifice, the synagogue features a majestic ark made of white marble. The synagogue opened in 1886 and has conducted daily prayer services continuously to this day.

Following a number of economic failures, in 1885 Rothschild helped to establish the first winery in Israel, Carmel Winery, together with a bottling factory, in Zichron Ya'akov. This was more successful economically although it was initially short-lived as in 1892 the grapevines succumbed to phylloxera, a type of parasite. After a brief set-back, American seedlings which were resistant to phylloxera were grown and the winery began to flourish. Today, the winery remains in action, as do the huge wine cellars that were carved into the mountain over a century ago. In 1954, the remains of Baron Edmond de Rothschild were reinterred in Zichron Ya'akov.

Nili spy ring[edit]

Zichron Ya'akov came to fame during World War I for the establishment of the Nili spy ring by Sarah Aaronsohn, together with her brothers, Aaron (a noted botanist) and Alex, and their friend Avshalom Feinberg. The group volunteered to spy on Ottoman positions and report them to British agents offshore. In September 1917, the Ottomans caught one of Sarah's carrier pigeons and cracked the Nili code. In October, they surrounded Zichron Ya'akov and arrested Sarah and several others. After four days of torture, they planned on transporting Sara elsewhere, she requested to be taken home to change her clothes and shot herself with a pistol hidden in her bathroom and died after several days. The Aaronsohn House–Nili Museum recreates the history of this period.

Demographics[edit]

The population increased dramatically in the early 1950s, after the establishment of the State of Israel. Between the 1960s and 1990s, the population remained constant with about 5,000 inhabitants. At the end of 2009, Zichron Yaakov had a population of 18,719.[4] Many residents continue to engage in agriculture, although upscale private homes have been built by families attracted to the scenic landscape. Zichron Ya'akov has a high amount of English speaking residents, olim and others. They amount to 20% of the moshava's population.

Education and religious institutions[edit]

While the vast majority of citizens of the town would define themselves as secular, there is a sizable religious Jewish community in the town, including Haredi members of the Ohr Yaakov Yeshiva and members of a Chabad-Lubavitch community. In adititon there are several religious zionist synagogues. It is unique in that there are Progressive/Reform and Conservative Jewish communities and synagogues in Zichron Ya'akov. The former, "Kehillat Sulam Yaakov" (in Hebrew "Jacob's Ladder Community") is a synagogue that practices Progressive Judaism and is a part of the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism. The latter, "VeAhavta", is a synagogue that practices Conservative Judaism. Zichron Yaakov is also home to "Moed"- an organization founded to invest in Jewish life for all citizens of modern Israel. Moed hosts citywide holiday events, youth social action workshops, support for individuals infusing Jewish meaning to life cycle and ritual events, Text study at the local city library, and a conversations program which promotes dialogue and exploration of ethnic traditions.

Landmarks[edit]

The original Carmel-Mizrahi Winery continues to make wine in Zichron Yaakov. The town draws many tourists attracted to its picturesque setting and historic city center whose restored main street of landmark buildings, called Derekh HaYayin ("Path of the Wine"), houses coffeehouses and boutique shops selling locally-made crafts, jewellery, and antiques, especially on the town's famous "Midrachov" (Rechov haMeyasdim — Founders Street).[2] It was announced in early 2008 that a 150-acre (0.61 km2) wine park would be created on the slope between Zichron and neighboring town Binyamina.[5]

Notable residents[edit]

International Relations[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Zichron Ya'akov is twinned with:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Zichron Yaakov". Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Gems in Israel-Zichron Ya'acov". Gems in Israel. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  3. ^ Ya'akov offers breathtaking views, history lesson
  4. ^ "List of Localities" (PDF) (in Hebrew, English). The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics. 31 December 2009. p. 10. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Israel seeks to become wine tourism destination". Globes. 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 

External links[edit]