At the beginning of the nineteenth century Jerusalem was an old city, ruined and neglected. Only poor people lived there and they suffered from the filth and from sickness. The living conditions in the old city were terrible, but Jews were afraid to move out. They felt safer inside the walls.
At that time, countries from around the world started buying land in the newer part of the city. The Russians, the Germans and the Italians were all interested in the Holly Land, for different reasons. Some bought the land for religious reasons, others for missionary work, hospitals or for the consulate service.
Finally, Sir Moses Montefori set up Mishkenot Shaananim in 1860 as a place to move to outside the walls, but the people who dared lived there in the daytime went back to the old city to sleep at night. The settling was very slow but it was the beginning of more such neighborhoods that were set up outside the walls. Machaneh Yisrael was the second, then Nachalat Shiva and Beit David. The area that is called Nachlaot was settled when the sixth neighborhood, Even Yisrael was established, pushing Jerusalem's boarder to the west.
The neighborhoods called Nachlaot are actually many different neighborhoods that are built side by side. They were set up for different reasons, they had different codes of behavior and even attracted different types of people. Every few streets resembled a different Diaspora, each ran by a different code and had its own synagogue with its special decor, prayers and atmosphere. Nachlaot, was in fact, a mosaic of many different communities living side by side.
By 1967 about sixteen thousand people lived in the small area of the Nachlaot (nahlaot) neighborhoods. After the unification of the city newer neighborhoods were established such as Ramot Eshkol, Gilo, Ramot Alon, East Talpiot and others. Many of the younger families chose to move into larger homes that had better modern facilities. Those that stayed in Nachlaot were the elderly and the poor. Many of the homes were left abandoned and were used for drug trafficking. By 1988 the population was down to four thousand five hundred and it seemed that the neighborhood of Nachlaot was dying. The tension between the old and the new, the antique and modern, the rich and poor is the beauty of Nachlaot today. Maybe these opposites are what makes Nachlaot so interesting.
Jerusalem - The Nachlaot Neighborhood; In down town Jerusalem, between Agrippas and Bezalel streets, lies one of the New City's oldest neighborhoods. This quarter, popularly known as Nachlaot, contains one hundred synagogues of the various Jewish communities which populated the new city after leaving the walled city of Jerusalem in the late 19th century.
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The History of Nachlaot neighborhood in Jerusalem
In the heart of Jerusalem�s downtown, Nachlaot is one of the city�s older and more colorful neighborhoods, retaining much of its original 19th century architecture, narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets. The neighborhood was planned to accommodate the Yemenite, Kurdish, Jerusalem Sephardi (including the famous Banai family), Greek, and Galician Jews. The communities had their own synagogues (many still exist today) and were each housed within a walled compound, built around a common courtyard and a water cistern in the center. We are walking distance from the Central Bus Station and all of downtown Jerusalem, and colorful Mahane Yehuda Market is just a short stroll away. Today, the neighborhood attracts a large influx of middle class and students and is enjoying gentrification. An active community center with many programs for children and adults, two theaters, and charming coffee shops and restaurants help constitute the Nachlaot experience.
Percentage of English-speakers: 5%
Percentage of religious: 60%
Religious Education: Every variety in Jerusalem
Synagogues: About 100 synagogues reflecting the original communities that settled here. The majority are Sephardic synagogues, among them the renowned (Halabi) Addes Synagogue (Syrian Jews from Aleppo). There are also a few Anglo-Saxon community synagogues, ranging from the young and hippie to the more formal.
Rav: Rav of Kol Rina is Aaron Leibowitz 054-4690-330; there is Rav Shechuna who is Sepharadi/Charedi
Youth Groups: Bnei Akiva nearby; Kol Rina has youth activities
Health Services: All
The revival of the area came gradually. The locals were not too excited at first. Many temporary people moved into the deserted homes. Students, artists and misfits were attracted to Nachlaot's beautiful alleys, unusual atmosphere and low rent homes in the city centre. These new neighbors, thought, didn't stay long enough to make any permanent changes. Later, a richer population with more money decided to turn the old homes in Nachlaot into their beautiful dream homes.
Nachlaot's One Hundred Synagogues
There are many kinds of synagogues; big or small; fancy or plain; famous or unpopular. Some are started by new groups and communities; others are neglected looking for the tenth man to complete the "minyan".
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Nahla'ot is my place in Jerusalem. In recent years, Nahla'ot underwent a facelift that preserved the character if the houses, the interior courtyards, and the lanes. The cooking aromas, the voices from the many small synagogues, pupils of Yeshivot, and students at the Bezalel Academy of Art one large colorful blend of Jerusalem authenticity. From there it is a short way to the market, to the dishes made on paraffin burners of Azura, to the fish of David Dagim, and to the pickles of Yaron Tzedkiyahu.
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