Tel Aviv and Jerusalem 1940-1950*

  • 1940-1945  These were the days of WWII, and the general situation in Israel and in Jerusalem in particular was difficult.  The Tzemach Tzedek synagogue nearly closed, but the Rebbe Rayatz initiated a minyan of paid worshipers, as well as a yeshiva, “Midrash Shmuel” in the year 1944.
  • 1941 – The Rebbe Rayatz formed a new administrative organization, called Agudat Chabad in Eretz Hakodesh, for the purpose of encouraging and supporting the learning of Chasidut and outreach to estranged Jews throughout the land of Israel.  Branches were formed in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Petach Tikvah, Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan, Rishon Letzion, Chadera, Kfar Yehezkel and Migdal.  From that time on, both Kolel Chabad and yeshivat Tzemach Tzedek in Yerushalayim, as well as the yeshivot in Tel Aviv, were brought under the administrative umbrella of Agudat Chabad, according to the instructions of the Rebbe Rayatz.
  • 1944 – In Tel Aviv, a division for advanced learners was added to the yeshiva Achei Tmimim. It was called Tomchei Tmimim.
  • 1948 – During the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, the Jordanian Legion conquered the old city of Jerusalem, and all Jews were forced to leave the old city.  The entire Jewish quarter was destroyed by the Jordanians, and the only synagogue left standing in its original form was the Tzemach Tzedek synagogue.
  • 1946-1949 – After WWII, approximately 1,000 Chabad refugees from Russia (perhaps those who were aided by R’ Mendel Futerfas to exit) found refuge in the DP camps of Europe. In 1949, some of them made aliyah to Israel.  They came in two groups, one settling near the train station in Lod, and the other in the abandoned village Safaria, later to be named Kfar Chabad.
  • 1950 – The division of older students in the Tel Aviv yeshiva moved to the yeshiva in Lod, which was better able to accomodate them, and only a Talmud Torah was left in Tel Aviv.  (Here the Rebbe Rayatz commented in the name of his father, the Rebbe Rashab, that it was preferable for a yeshiva to be located in a secluded area, as it was in Lubavitch, rather than within a city.  Although the Chabad yeshiva was in Lod, it was located within orange orchards at some distance from the city center).

*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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