Dani +Sara

Research Question:

What is the story behind Yemin Moshe?


We wanted to find a topic about Jerusalem that would interest both of us. We both have relatives that live in Yemin Moshe. Dani's Mom lived in Yemin Moshe since she was eight and until she married, and her Grandparents still live there today. Sara's cousins made aliya from Teaneck and live there today, and for those reasons we have visited Yemin Moshe lots of times.
When you speak to people it seems that so many people in Jerusalem have had relatives who have lived and live in Yemin Moshe at one time or another. Most cabs that drive you to Yemin Moshe will tell you that they have lived there in the past. This always seemed strange to us since Yemin Moshe today seems to be populated mainly by wealthy people from abroad.
It always seemed weird to us that there was a windmill in the center of the neighborhood that has never been used. We never really connected between the history of the neighborhood and the windmill. We knew there was a story behind Yemin Moshe but we never knew the complete version. We thought it could be a good opportunity for us to learn and research about this beautiful place.

Mishkenot She’ananim –The First Settlement Outside The Old City Walls:

Until the middle of the 19th century, all the people of Jerusalem lived inside the Old City Walls. Different ethnic groups: Muslims, Jews, Christians and Armenians lived together in an area of only one square kilometer. Being out side the City walls was considered very dangerous, especially at night. People were scared of being attacked by gangs of robbers and only felt safe inside the city walls. Accordingly, the old city became overcrowded. Living in such crowded conditions was hazardous for everyone's health. Diseases spread quickly among the old city's residents because it was hard to be hygienic under such conditions. People were also incredibly poor because there were not enough job opportunities for them. It was clear that the only solution for the city's natural growth was to build new neighborhoods outside the old city walls. The church started to purchase lands outside the old city walls in order to insure their control in the new city that was about to expand outside the wall.
Moses Montifiore was a wealthy English Jew who decided to help the Jewish community inside the old city walls by buying lands outside the old city walls. Most of the donations came from a wealthy American Jew, Yehuda Turo, who left $60,000 (then a huge sum of money) in his will to help support poor Jews, and build Jerusalem.
At first, Montifiore was going to use the land he bought outside the walls to build a hospital for Jews. Eventually he decided against this idea, since there was already a hospital in the old city, built by the Baron Rothchild. Finally, Montifiore decided to use the money to create a new settlement outside the city walls for Torah scholars who were poor and needy.
In the year 1860, Moses Montifiore built the first settlement outside of the walls. He named the neighborhood Mishkenot Sheananim. It is one long building that was divided into separate apartments.
Poor Torah Scholars and their families quickly populated Mishkenot Sheananim. At the beginning they were frightened to sleep outside the old city walls, so they would return to their original homes to sleep at night.
In the year 1874, Montifiore, then 90 years old, decided to retire as head of the charitable fund that helped the Jews of Jerusalem. The remaining members of the fund created a new fund called, "Keren Mazkeret Moshe". The fund was dedicated to helping the Jews in the new neighborhoods and to build other neighborhoods outside the old city wall.
Today Mishkenot Sheananim is used as a special hotel for Jewish scholars, writers and artists. The Israeli government invites these artists to come and stay there so they can be inspired is Jerusalem while writing or creating art.

The Windmill:

In addition to taking care of living conditions of the Jewish community, Montifiore also wanted to find a way for Jews to support themselves. Until then the Jewish community in Jerusalem lived off donations from wealthy Jews living outside of Palestine.
In the year 1857 Moses Montifiore built a windmill, near the neighborhood of Mishkenot Sheananim. The windmill was built to create work opportunities for the Jewish community in Jerusalem. At the outset, British millers operated the windmill, and later on it was leased to Jews.
At the time it was built the Windmill was considered to be an ultra modern work tool for grinding grain into flour. It is not clear if the Windmill ever really worked, or if it really created the job opportunities hoped for. Some Historians claim that Montifiore did not take into account the weather conditions in Jerusalem that is unsuitable for operating windmills. Others say that the Windmill did work, that the local Arab community felt threatened by the competition, and it continued to operate until steam-powered mills made it outdated.
During the War of Independence the windmill served as a watchtower for Jewish fighters. The Jewish Defense Forces poured cement on the roof of the windmill for defensive purposes. In an attempt to hinder the Israeli defense, the British Authorities blew off the top of the windmill. The Jewish population mockingly dubbed this operation as "Operation Don Quixote". The windmill was rebuilt the next day. Today there is a small museum in the windmill dedicated to Montefiore’s memory and contributions.

The building of Yemin Moshe:

Next to the Mishkenot Sheanamin there was additional piece of Land that was unsettled. It was unclear whom this land belonged to. Josef Sabbag, Moshe Montifiore's nephew thought that this piece of land was part of his uncle's property. He planned to rent it out to "Kol Yisrael Chaverim", an organization that planned to build a school there for Jewish studies.
A group of poor Jews in Jerusalem heard about Josef Sabbag's plan, and squatted on the land, putting up tents and huts. They claimed that Moses Montifiore promised this land to the poor. This dispute was brought to the courts in England. In 1887 the court ruled that the land was indeed intended for the housing of poor people, and made Yossef Sabag hand over the land "Keren Mazkeret Moshe".
In 1892 "Keren Mazkeret Moshe" attempted to evacuate the poor squatters in order to build a new neighborhood for the poor. However, since there were over 200 families they only managed to evacuate a few families of squatters..
The building of Yemin moshe was completed at 1893, around thirty years after Mishkenot Sheananim was first settled. Yemin moshe was named after Moshe Montifiore. The name is brought from a verse of the prophet Isiah, who describes how God gave strength to the prophet Moses: "That caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses" (chapter 63 verse 12).
At the outset the neighborhood was divided into two: one section for the Ashkenazim and one section for the Sefaradim. The streets were long and paved with stone. The people who lived on the plot individually built each house. Most houses had two floors that contained two room apartments with a kitchen. The Neighborhood was built on a few levels, connected by steep stairs.
Yemin Moshe was considered a very modern neighborhood. Most of the Rabbis were Ultra Orthodox but they were considered moderate in their outlook. For instance, parents let their daughters meet up with the boys from the old city in coffee shops. People lived a life of Torah and also combined it with making a living. As the years went by the neighborhoods houses were bought by the people and became their own property.
In the following years many Ashkenazim left Yemin Moshe. The population that was left was mostly of Sefaradic Origin. In the year of 1920 the inhabitants built a wall around Yemin Moshe in order to protect them from Arab Attacks. These attacks became more frequent as the years went by, and people slowly started to leave the neighborhood in search of a safer place to live. In the year of 1948 (Independence War) the last citizens left Yemin Moshe.
During the War of Independence Yemin Moshe was a great place for the Israeli Army to stay because no one was living there. The army destroyed the houses so that they could maneuver the troops easily. Yemin Moshe became a battlefield, and the Israeli army lost some of its best fighters there.
On May 14th, the night Israel was declared a Jewish state, Yemin Moshe was abandoned by the last of its inhabitants. However, most of the old inhabitants came to pray there every Shabbat, even though it was still used by the army.
After the War of Independence a lot of Jews from Turkey made Aliya. The Israeli Government offered them abandoned houses in Yemin Moshe. The Jewish community in Turkey sent money to rebuild the houses and the neighborhood.
Life in Yemin Moshe could be dangerous at times, since the old city walls became the border between Jordan and Israel. Jordanian soldiers would sit on the old city walls and shoot on the residents of Yemin Moshe.
During this time the community started to develop once again. More Ashkenazim and Sfaradim started moving in and settling down in the area. A supermarket, mikvah and bathhouse were built. In 1949, the coed school, "Beit Sefer Mizrachi Yemin Moshe", was founded.
In the beginning of the 1960's, before the reunification of Jerusalem resulting from the Six Day War, the city of Jerusalem decided to rebuild Yemin Moshe. A special organization was founded for this purpose called, "Hachevra Lepeetuach Mizrach Yerushalayim". This organization decided to rehouse the residents in other parts of Jerusalem, and make Yemin Moshe into an artist colony.
Up until the Six Day War people moved out of the neighborhood on their own accord and in return they got money which allowed them to buy a new apartment. People chose to leave because they did not want to live so close to the border.
After the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, Yemin Moshe turned into a desirable area and people didn’t rush to leave their houses. Eventually, however, all the old residents were rehoused and the area became an artist colony. Today wealthy Jews own most of the houses in Yemin Moshe from abroad, which use their houses in Yemin Moshe as vacation homes.


Writing this project gave us a lot of new knowledge we never knew before. Going to Yemin Moshe after we wrote the body of the project gave us a whole new outlook. Our experience was different than most times we were there because we learned so much more about the place. We enjoyed the visit but in a different way then we used to. We visited the windmill museum that broadened our knowledge and helped us illustrate what we learned and spent time researching.
We feel that we have covered all the material and have answered all our questions. To write about our topic we had to learn not only about Yemin Moshe but also about that period of time in history, when the Jews first chose to leave the security of the old city walls.
Yemin Moshe has gone through many changes over they years. Yemin Moshe started out as a neighborhood for poor people that no one wanted to live in because of security issues. Today Yemin Moshe has become a very exclusive place populated mainly by wealthy people from abroad.
It's funny realizing that every step you take in Yemin Moshe has a different story behind it. Before this project we had walked there so many times without knowing a thing.


Baraq, Pinhas. "Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha'ananim." department for Jewish Zionest Education. The Jewish agency for Israel. 25 Apr 2007 <http://www.jafi.org.il/education/noar/sites/yeminmosh.htm>.
Tal, Duby. "The windmill at Yemen Moshe." 25 Apr 2007 <http://www.md.huji.ac.il/vjt/73.html>.

"Yemin Moshe." wikipedia. 25 Apr 2007 <http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemin_Moshe>.
"Jerusalem - Beyond the Old City Walls." Virtual Israel Experience. 25 Apr 2007 <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vie/Jerusalem3.html>.


To see pictures of Yemen Moshe (http://www.jerusalemshots.com/Jerusalem_en122-5591.html)

To watch a short clip of the view in Yemen Moshe (http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3251209,00.html)
Joseph Hirsch was an artist who lived in Yemen Moshe. To see some of his art (http://www.ellagallery.co.il/joseph-hirsch-gallery.asp)

Creative Pieces:

Israel\ Danielle Sacofsky

Israel has been through so much
Not a minute of quiet
Not a minute of peace
There is always an enemy,
Always war
So what are we here for?
Are we here to suffer?
Are we here to see people die?
No is the answer
No one made us live here
It was our own choice
And truth is that everyone suffers wherever they are.
We are the chosen ones
We must always remember that.
Our enemies might have guns, swords, and atomic bombs
But we have our belief in G-d.
We might fall sometimes and even get hurt
But we get up,
And life gets better as we go.
I know that deep inside every Jew
There is a desire to live in Israel.
They might deny it and claim it's not safe
But they know the real reason is that they are scared of change

Our jobs as Israelis
Is to support the people that moved here
And make sure they fit in
I can't imagine living outside of Israel
And I hope that every Jew in the world,
Would understand the meaning of living here
And not be afraid of change.
Sometimes change is good…..

Living in Israel/ Sara Adams

Living in Israel means
Living in the land that was promised to us by G-d.
Living in Israel means
Appreciating everywhere you go and knowing that someone died for that place.
Living in Israel means
Living in the land that thousands of Jew sacrificed their lives to live in.
Living in Israel means
That the sun still shines in January
Living in Israel means
That you can sleep in your succah during Succot.
Living in Israel means
That when there is one inch of snow you get two days off from school.
Living in Israel means
That on your way to Jerusalem you can stop and give the soldiers at the barrier a cake.
Living in Israel means
That when you are on a family trips in the middle of nowhere you can still get ten men for a Minyan.
Living in Israel means
That the day before a field trip the school is still making changes because they still didn’t get an "אישור ביטחוני".
Living in Israel means
That no matter were you are you're not more that three hours away from the holiest city- Jerusalem.
Living in Israel means
Being able to walk in the streets on Shabbat with out getting run over.
Living in Israel means
Being able to drive across the whole country in one day.
Living in Israel means that even the strangest stranger is your brother.