Unsdorf (Hebrew: קריית אונסדורף), officially Kiryat Unsdorf, also known as Sorotzkin after its main street, is a Haredi Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel. It is located along the northern edge of the mountain plateau on which central Jerusalem lies. Constructed between 1970 and 1985, Unsdorf is home to several landmark educational centers. A large percentage of residents are American-born.
Unsdorf is named in memory of the Hungarian/Slovakian town of Huncovce (Yiddish: Unsdorf), whose Jewish community was destroyed during the Holocaust. The main synagogue, Be'er Shmuel, is named after the Unsdorfer Rav, Rabbi Shmuel Rosenberg (1842-1919), a disciple of the Ksav Sofer and author of the work Be'er Shmuel.
Situated along the northern edge of the mountain plateau on which central Jerusalem lies, Unsdorf is one of a series of Haredi neighborhoods extending in a continuous line from the western entrance of Jerusalem to Jaffa Gate. Unsdorf is bordered by Kiryat Sanz to the east, Kiryat Belz to the south, and Kiryat Itri to the southwest. The main thoroughfare is Sorotzkin Street, named after Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin. A small side street off Sorotzkin is Rechov Menachem Meishiv, named after the Torah work by Rabbi Menachem Sofer, a rabbinical leader in prewar Romania and victim of the Holocaust.
The land for the neighborhood was purchased by Rabbi Moshe Halevi Horowitz, the son of the Unsdorfer-Frankfurter Rav, Rabbi Yonah Tzvi Halevi Horowitz. He engaged Rabbi Akiva Ehrenfeld, who established the nearby community of Kiryat Mattersdorf, to assist with planning and construction. The initial plan called for construction of 250 apartment units and public institutions. Construction took place from 1970 to 1985. The residential buildings averaged six stories in height. Further expansion of apartments, including the addition of new wings, was undertaken in the 2000s. Like Kiryat Mattersdorf, Unsdorf has a lack of urban open space.
In the 2000s Unsdorf saw an influx of newlywed Haredi couples from the United States and Europe. The Unsdorf Renter's Union was formed at this time to control excessive rent hikes and halt the practice of inflating rental prices for new tenants. An English-speaking N'shei (women's social group) called N'shei Sorotzkin organizes shiurim (Torah lectures) and social evenings.
The majority of residents identify with the Litvish style of life and Torah study. A large percentage of residents are American-born. The foreign-born population increases noticeably over the Sukkot holiday when tourists rent flats in the locale, which is an hour's walk from the Western Wall.
Unsdorf is home to several landmark educational centers. Beth Jacob Jerusalem, a prestigious Haredi girls' seminary and teacher training institute, was established by Dr. Bruria David in the early 1970s. Kiryat HaYeled (Children's Town), an orphanage for Haredi boys, was founded in 1973 by Rabbi Menachem Porush. Kiryat Banot (Girls Town) is the second campus of the Bayit Lepletot girls' orphanage located in Mea Shearim. Founded in 1973, the campus is situated on a hillside below the neighborhood; its street address is 55 Sorotzkin Street. The main branch of the Sulam Special Education Center, an early childhood intervention center, occupies a multi-story facility atop the Shearit Yosef synagogue on Sorotzkin Street.
Unsdorf also hosts several yeshivas: Yeshivas Daas Moshe, Yeshivat Zohar HaTorah, and Yeshivat Ateret Shlomo. In the 2010s a Bais Yaakov seminary, Chemdat Bais Yaakov, moved onto the premises of the former Maon Tzvia Mother & Baby Convalescent Home, which had operated since 1984.
Synagogues and study halls in Unsdorf include:
- Be'er Shmuel Synagogue (Nusach Ashkenaz)
- Shearit Yosef Synagogue (Edot HaMizrach)
- Trisk beit medrash
- Halakha LeMoshe beit medrash
- Schonfeld Synagogue (Children's Town)
- Rabbi Yitzchak Yechiel Ehrenfeld, Rav of Kiryat Mattersdorf and rosh yeshiva, Yeshivas Beis Shmuel
- Rabbi Yisroel Eichler, Member of Knesset
- Rabbi Binyamin Rimmer, rosh yeshivas Tchebin and Yeshivas Kiryas Melech
- Rabbi Eliyahu Abba Shaul, Jerusalem Religious Council representative for Kiryat Mattersdorf, Kiryat Itri, and Kiryat Unsdorf
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Rabbi Israel Eichler is hardly eccentric-looking on Sorotzkin Street where he lives, in Jerusalem's haredi Unsdorf neighborhood.
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