Monday, December 9, 2013

Rechov Hanevi’im 8©


At 48 Rechov Haneviim is the site that, during the Mandate period, housed the orthopedic clinic of Dr. Trea. From here, Eldad (Dr. Yisrael Scheib) was rescued from the British by his fellow Lechi members led by Dov Hablondini (Yaakov Graneh) on June 7, 1946.

On 29 Rechov Haneviim, Marienstift Kinder - hospital (Childrens Hospital) of Dr. Max Sandreczky, a German pediatric surgeon, was opened in 1872 and functioned until the end of the century. The high standard of medical and surgical practice in the hospital not only compared favourably with those in Western Europe but, in certain aspects, were more advanced.

In 1871 the Archduke of Mecklenburg Schwerin and his newly wedded wife, Princess Marie of
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, came on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Sandreczky described to them the abysmal conditions of children in the Holy Land who, due to the dirty environment, ignorance and apathy of parents, suffered a childhood mortality rate of 50 percent. He claimed that a separate childrens hospital would have the great advantage of allowing the mothers to room in with their children. The mothers could then be taught hygiene and child care. In addition, the children would benefit psychologically as well as practically from the presence of their mothers.

The new couple agreed to support a childrens hospital along with a proviso that under no circumstances would any attempt be made at proselytizing the children or their families. The hospital was named after the Princess. Dr. Max Sandreczky and his wife Johanna pledged that they would work without a salary. Because the hospital refrained from proselytizing, raising funds from Christian sources was extremely difficult. Sandreczky eventually managed to attract a large number of friends for the hospital from Europe and the United States who contributed the monies necessary to cover the running expenses of the hospital. Toward the 1890s, the hospital budget was balanced.

Kaiser Wilhelm IIs Visit

When the German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II came to Jerusalem in 1898, he and his triumphal procession travelled down the Street of the Consuls (today Rechov Haneviim), to an empty lot overlooking the Old City (now No. 42, at the corner of Adler). Here them Ottoman authorities, in a specially built encampment surrounded by gardens, quartered Wilhelm and his entourage. The encampment itself consisted of 75 tents, six grandiose reception tents, six kitchen tents, and barracks.

Telegraph lines were also installed to link the Kaiser to his country. One line was to coordinate his visit to Jericho (an excursion that was cancelled because of intensely hot weather). The Kaisers reception tent was luxuriously outfitted with furniture and carpets selected from the homes of the wealthy residents of Jerusalem, simulating an Oriental living room.

Theodor Herzl travelled by train on Leil Shabbos in order to attend the ceremonial parade organized for the Emperor in the Old City. He thereby gained the ire of the whole Yishuv. In those days, even people who sent their children to progressive schools were religious. Herzls behaviour shocked and revolted everyone. Harav Shmuel Salant placed a cherem on Herzl and his group of travelling Zionists.

Even so, Theodor Herzl and his Zionist delegation met Kaiser Wilhelm at the Emperors lodgings, to discuss and plead Zionist issues. His efforts with the Kaiser for the Zionist cause were unsuccessful.

Following the Kaisers visit, the Ottoman authorities gave him the plot as a gift. At the beginning of the 20th century, the German government built an imposing two-story building here to house the head of the German Protestant community. Although the eagle and cross that symbolized the German Empire have since been removed, two of the walls retain inscriptions. The magnificent edifice now houses the Ort College.

Bermans Bakery

With the increase of the Jewish presence outside the Old City, the Berman family moved to the vicinity of Meah Shearim. They built a house and a bakery side by side on Rechov Haneviim (almost opposite the site where today stands the Ethiopian Consulate building) to supply European-style bread to the public. It was the largest bakery not only in Palestine, but in the entire Middle East.

Bermans Bakery served the British Mandatory government between 1917 and 1948, in addition to the general public. In 1948 when the British left, the Arabs besieged Jerusalem, whereupon rationing of flour and other staples led to a harsh period of shortages and even starvation.

Because it was near the Jordanian border, and since it was the main supply source for the besieged population, the bakery became the target of numerous Arab bombing attempts. Despite all this, the bakery continued to produce every single day, and the residents of Jerusalem received a regular bread supply.

In 1965, with an ever-growing clientele, Bermans Bakery left the Meah Shearim premises and moved to its present location in Givat Shaul, which then seemed like the middle of nowhere.

Ethiopian Consulate

At No. 38 and 40 of Rechov Haneviim, on the corner of Devorah Haneviah Street, is the Ethiopian Consulate. The building, featuring bright mosaics, attractive windows and decorative gables, was constructed by Empress Zewditu I of Ethiopia in 1928. It housed that countrys consulate from 1948 to 1973.

On the facade of the building is seen the symbol of the Ethiopian monarchy, a crowned lion bearing a cross and a flag. Ethiopian tradition holds that the Queen of Sheba received the flag as a gift from Shlomo Hamelech who was from the tribe of Yehudah, whose symbol is the lion.

Today the building is an apartment complex rented out to lodgers. Beginning in the 1880s, an Ethiopian Christian community developed around Ethiopia Street just north of Rechov Haneviim.

Ministry of Education

The Contractors Lipchitz built the Ministry of Education offices in the Lev-Ram building as a fancy

hotel. They went bankrupt. As the government was not interested in the failure of this icon, it took it over and it became part of the Education Ministry. The sprawling complex covers a vast area, reaching until Rechov Shivtei Yisrael.

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