Hebron & Jerusalem – 1817-1888*

  • 1814-1815 – Some chasidim of the Mitteler Rebbe requested permission to move to Israel.  The Mitteler Rebbe answered in the negative, but nevertheless indicated that “if they would move to Jerusalem – there they would succeed.”
  • 1816-1817 – The Mitteler Rebbe granted permssion to several Chabad families to move to Israel, and they settled in Zfat, Tiberius and Jerusalem.
  • 1821-1823 – The Mitteler Rebbe issued instructions for all of the Chabad families in Israel to settle in Hebron.  He also instructed his chasidim in Ukraine to “buy a plot of land in Hebron.”  The Rebbe himself bought the Avraham Avinu synagogue in Hebron.  Between the years 1821 and 1826, the Chabad families living in the holy Land moved to Hebron, and numbered “several hundred people.’  This number remained roughly the same all the way to 1839, when there were 144 Chabad Hasidim in Hebron.
  • 1844-1845 – The Mitteler Rebbe’s daughter, Rebetzin Menucha Rachel moves with her family from Russia to Hebron.  She becomes the “matriarch” of the community, and people, both Jews and non-Jews alike, go to her for blessings and advice. She lives until 1888.
  • 1847 – The Jews of Hebron suffered terribly from the local Muslim authorities, who regularly extorted huge sums from them as “protection money.”  As a result, 16 families, numbering 53 souls, moved from Hebron and joined 14 other Chabad families who came directly from the diaspora to settle in Jerusalem.  The families from Hebron settled in the northern section of Jerusalem, near Damascus gate.
  • 1849-1880 – The Chabad congregation in Jerusalem grew rapidly. In 1849, there were 30 families.  By 1873, there were 102 families, and by 1875, there were 124 families, numbering some 300 souls.  The congregation needed a larger synagogue and mikveh and they turned to Sir Moshe Montefiori.  However, it was a donation from R’ David Sassoon of Bombay that secured the synagogue, “Beit Menachem” (later to be called the Tzemach Tzedek shul) for the Chabad congregation in 1858.  They managed to conclude the acquisition in 1862.  In the meantime, the Chabad congregation in Hebron lost families as the congregation grew in Jerusalem.

*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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