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The Churva synagogue in the Jewish Quarter


Tour Guide, Ashdod, Israel

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Last week, we visited the Jewish quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. We visited the illustrious synagogue Churva, that was rebuilt successfully in 2010. This synagogue, which is a couple of inches higher than the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa mosque, has a very symbolic history that announces the end times. The Shabbat song “Lekha Dodi” proclaims these words: Jerusalem will be rebuilt on her ruins. And this is what the story of the Churva, a word that means “ruins”, tells us.  Considered one of Israel’s most beautiful synagogue’s for years, it was destroyed and rebuilt many times, and was finally inaugurated on Rosh chodesh Nissan 5770.

In the year 1700, a pious chassid, Yehuda Hachassid came to Jerusalem to settle down with his disciples. A couple of days after his arrival, he dramatically died due to an insect bite. His disciples built the synagogue but they had to borrow money from their Arab neighbors.  With no funds, having lost their leader, the ashkenazi Jews found themselves unable to give back the money and the Arabs destroyed the synagogue a few years later.

It was rebuilt during the Ottoman Empire with offerings given from the Baron of Rotschild. In 1948, during the capture of the Old City, the Jordanian destroyed it again and left only ruins.

After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1967, the Israeli government decided to rebuild the Jewish Quarter, and the synagogue Churva is one of the fruits of this program that was initiated years ago. The synagogue is beautiful and the prayers and studies of Torah adorn again this building with holiness.

« The disciples of Rabbi Yossi Ben Kisma asked him: “When will the son of David come back?, He answered them: When this door (of the Churva synagogue) will fall, then will be rebuilt, then will be destroyed, and rebuilt… we won’t stop rebuilding it until the son of David will come. “» (Sanhedrin 78). The Ga’on of Vilna, two centuries ago had said to his disciples, basing himself on this Guemara that the Churva would be destroyed and rebuilt twice, and that the third rebuilding would be a Sign of the coming of the Mashiach’.

Amen, let it be so, quickly.

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