Synagogues of the World
The Rabban Yochanan Ben
Zakai synagogue is on Mishmeret Kehuna Street in the Old City.
It served as the center of the Sephardic
community and, to this day, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi, the Rishon
LeZion, ceremoniously assumes his office here. The Ben-Zakai
is named after the Second Temple sage Rabban Yochanan
Ben Zakai, as legend deems this spot as the location of
his Beit Midrash, study hall.
Hanavi synagogue is named for a surprise visit of the Prophet
Elijah. Many years
ago the Jewish community in the area had so dwindled that there
were no longer 10 men for the completion of a minyan.
On Yom Kippur a
10th man mysteriously showed up and completed the quorum. After
the fast the visitor entered an adjoining room to complete his
prayers and vanished. The community realized that the 10th man
was none other than Elijah the Prophet and the synagogue was
named after him. The ark was donated by the community of Livorno,
Italy after their main
synagogue was destroyed during WWII. The entrance to the building
is from Beit El street tucked into a little nook beneath the
home of Rabbi andMrs.Getz zt"l, the former Rabbi of the
Kotel. There is a minyan here every Shabbat
and on holidays.
The Middle Synagogue was
created in the 18th century as a result of the growth of the Sephardic
community which outgrew the premises of the Ben Zakai .It only
became known as the Middle Synagogue, its original name was Kahal
Zion, when the Istanbuli synagogue was built and sandwiched it
between the Ben Zakai. This building is no longer used for services,
although it was renovated in 1967. It houses an ark from Piedmont,
Synagogue was built by immigrants from Istanbul
in the 18th century. It houses a 17th century ark from a community
The bimah was brought over from a synagogue in Pesaro, Italy.
The entrance is also through Beit-El street at the juncture with
Gal-Ed street. Services are held once a month on the Shabbat of
Rosh Chodesh, the new month.
Tzion Synaoguge was built in the middle ages. This congregation
was one of the first to be reestablished in the community after
1967 when there were
still gaping holes from the wars in the front of the entrance.
The beautiful eighteenth-century ark was brought from Italy
and the furnishing in the men's section came from the synagogue
of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch in Germany.
It is located on HaYehudim St. just north of the Hurva, up the
staircase to the right of the Menorah coffee shop.
Yeshiva and Synagogue is a centuries-old kabbalist
yeshiva. Also known as Kahal Chassidim, it was renewed under the
aegis of HaRav Yehuda Mayer Getz z"l, who until his death
was the official Rabbi of the Western
Wall area. It was originally founded in 1757 during the time
that the Hurva had been confiscated from the Jews. The entrance
is through the magnificent silver etched door at the beginning
of Beit El Street.
synagogue was founded ( reconstructed) by Rav
Moshe ben Nachman, the Ramban, upon his arrival to Jerusalem
in 1267. The building foundation is comprised of Romanesque vaults
resting on Roman and
which, together with the fact that there are no Gothic or Muslim
features, suggest that the original building predates the Crusader
period. Over the years, the building has been used as a house
of prayer, a mosque (when confiscated by a Mufti), a flour mill,
and the neighboring minaret served as a police station during
the British period.
In 1967, the Jews finally regained their right to the property
and the synagogue was reopened, exactly 700 years after the Ramban
revived the ancient building. It is located at the corner of HaYehudim
Street and the main square.
Off the Hurva
Square on the east side, past the entrance to the Herodain Quarter,
next to Yeshivat HaKotel stands the remains of what was the tallest
building in the Jewish Quarter before destroyed
by the Jordanians in 1948. The Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue was
built by Nissan Bak at the request of Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin.
The dome was donated by Emporer Franz-Josef of Austria. There
are pictures displayed in the bottom level of the remains alongside
the remains of mikves, however, to keep mischevious children from
the neighborhood out, the Jewish Quarter Development Company erected
fences around the building.
Synagogue, also known as Hurvat Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid, was the
center of the Old Yishuv. It was destroyed by the Jordanian legion
shortly before the fall of the Jewish
Quarter in 1948.
It's remains can be visited under the great arch, which was built
after 1967 to commemorate
the synagogue, in the main square of the neighborhood. Entrance
from the stairs above the Ramban Synagogue or from HaYehudim St.
Synagogue is a Chasidic shul that seats 6,000 in its main sanctuary.
The Great Synagogue
To learn about the history of Jerusalem, click
Sources: Jewish Quarter
Belz Synagogue photo courtesy of Jewish
Great synagogue photos © Jack
Hazut. No reproduction allowed without written permission from Jack
Hazut and AICE.