Hebron 1844-1914*

  • 1844 – The tzedeket (“righteous woman”), Rebetzin Menucha Rochel, daughter of the Mitteler Rebbe (second Rebbe , moves to Hebron with her family from Russia.  She is widely recognized for her piety and both Jews and non-Jews go to her for advice and blessings during the course of her life in Hebron.  She passed away in 1888.
  • 1852 – The Avraham Avinu synagogue in Hebron was too small to serve all of the Chabad hasidim, and they sought a new synagogue.  In 1852, their dream was realized with a gift from the brothers Menashe and Sasson, with which the community bought the Beit Menachem (in honor of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek) synagogue.  At this point, the Hebron Chabad community had two synagogues in which to pray – the “small synagogue” (the Avraham Avinu shul) and the “large synagogue” (“Beit Menachem” – presently called “Beit Schneerson”).
  • 1883 – The Chabad Hasidim in Hebron continued to move to Jerusalem and the community dwindled.  The Rebbe Rashab (fifth rebbe of Chabad, from 1883 to 1920) was concerned about the welfare of the Jews in Hebron.  He gave preference to Hebron over Jerusalem since Hebron was “still pure from foreign influences,” in his words.  The Rebbe maintained that the Jews were moving to Jerusalem because they received free housing, which was not available in Hebron.  He therefore sought a way of establishing free housing in Hebron as well.
  • 1908 – After years of effort, the Rebbe managed to buy the Romano estate in Hebron, a large courtyard with several apartments.  A few years later, in 1912, the yeshiva Torat Emet was established within Beit Romano as it is now called.
  • 1914 – With the onset of World War 1, nearly all of the Jews of Hebron, who retained their citizenship from Europe and Russia, were expelled from the country.  The Turkish government requisitioned Beit Romano for military purposes, and remained in control of it until 1926.  It wasn’t until 1927 that an attempt was made to re-establish regular prayers in the synagogues of Hebron.  However, the attempt was not successful, and the situation in Hebron remained difficult.

*Information on this page is taken from “Toldot Chabad in the Holy Land: 1777-1950, by R’ Shalom Dov Ber Levin

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