What’s in a Name?
In the early 18th century, the followers of Rabbi Yehuda he-Hassid built a synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem — which was then known only as Jerusalem, since there wasn’t any New City yet. This building was destroyed already in 1721.
It became known as the Ruin Synagogue, Beit Ha-Knesset He-Hurba, and it remained a pile of rubble for some 140 years. Then, in 1864, it was rebuilt and became the main Ashkenazi house of worship in Jerusalem. Although its name was officially changed to the Beit Yaakov Synagogue, it was still referred to as Hurba, the Ruin.
In retrospect, that might have been pushing Lady Luck a bit too much.
As the Jordanian Arab Legion conquered the Old City of Jerusalem in May 1948, and even before the fighting within the walls had ended, they blew this symbol of Jewish presence in Jerusalem to bits. The building was once again reduced to ruins and remained that way for 62 years, a lone arch reminding passers-by of what had once stood there.
But then, a few years ago, renovations started, and tonight the synagogue is being rededicated.
That’s all great, but may I just suggest one thing: maybe a name change would be called for?
Entry filed under: Judaism.