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Hurva Synagogue

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Hurva Synagague in the Holy Land

Rebuilt and rededicated in March 2010, the Hurva Synagogue has long been a landmark in the Jewish Quarter even as ruins. Since 1948, the only remains of the Hurva were an arch that spanned Hurva Square near the Cardo.

Appropriately named in Hebrew, the Hurva means “ruin.” It was originally built in the 1860s on a site where smaller synagogues had been erected and destroyed over the centuries, according to Jewish tradition. It remained in ruins after Jordan occupied the Old City after the 1948 war  and expelled the Jewish community there. Since Israel regained control of the Old City in 1967, debate has raged as to how and when to rebuild the synagogue. Decades later it was completed and dedicated.

Rabbi Judah the Hassid from Poland began construction on the synagogue in 1700, bu it was only half built upon his death. It was destroyed in 1721 and left in ruins, thus the name Hurva. In 1836, Ibrahim Pasha allowed Jewish residents to restore four major synagogues, among them the Hurva. It was rebuilt in a neo-Byzantine style. However, after less than a century in operation, the synagogue was destroyed by the Jordanian Arab Legion during the war of 1948.

Since Israel recaptured Jerusalem in 1967, many plans have been made for its rebuilding, but it wasn't until 2005 that the Israeli government announced a plan to rebuild the synagogue in exactly the same
neo-Byzantine style as the original. Construction took five years, and the restored Hurva Synagogue was dedicated on March 15, 2010.

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