Each home on Rechov B’nai B’rith and Rechov Ethiopia is magnificent, with luxuriant gardens. At the turn of the 20th century, the Ethiopian royal family bought part of this land. The
built in this
area, and one of the houses served as a mansion foran Ethiopian princess. Ethiopian
Similarly, the Nashashibis Arabfamily built a number of houses on
Street that possess large rooms, stylized windows
with coloured glass, and elaborate, high wooden ceilings. Mid-19th century
and into the beginning of the 20th century, both streets became the
fashionable place for
the maskilim of
to live. For instance, residents included
Gad Frumkin (1887-1960), one of the first trained attorneys in Jerusalem and a member of
the Supreme Court during the British Mandate, and Eliezer Ben Yehudah
(1858-1922), reviver of modern Hebrew. Palestine
was called Rechov Chabash, but as this name denotes slavery, the name was
switched to Rechov .
In 1936 during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, (also referred to as the Second
Italo-Abyssinian War), Italian forces finally completed the takeover of Ethiopia ,
forcing Emperor Haile Selassie into exile. He and the Empress sought refuge in Ethiopia . Dressed in a
light beige suit, always the perfect gentleman, Emperor Haile tipped his white
safari-hat to whomever he met as he strolled through the streets of the Jerusalem .
During the Second World War the Italians were vanquished and the Emperor and Empress
returned home. Holy City
The National Library
In 1892 the B’nai B’rith, known as the Midrash Abarbanel library, was founded on
It was put in cherem by the Yerushalmi Rabbanim. Ten years later
the library was moved to Ethiopia
Street. In 1925, when the university opened there,
the books were shifted to . In 1948, access
to the university campus on Mount
Scopus was blocked and
most of the books were taken to the university’s temporary quarters in
Rechavia. At that point the university collection included over one million
books. Due to lack of space, some of the books were placed in storerooms around
the city. In 1960, they were moved to the Givat Ram campus. Mount
Due to the fact that in the 1970s, the faculties of Law, Humanities and Social Science returned to
departmental libraries opened on that campus and accordingly the number of
visitors to the Givat Ram library dropped. In the 1990s, the building suffered from
maintenance problems such as rainwater leaks and insect infestation. Mount Scopus
In 2007, the library was officially recognized as the Sifriah Leumit (The National Library of the State of Israel). In 2011, the library went online, granting the public access to books, periodicals, maps, photos, and music from its collections.
Chazal say that before the coming of Moshiach, there will be a great expansion of Torah books printed and available to Klal Yisrael. Forty percent of all the books that come into the Jewish National Library are sifrei kodesh or have some connection to the religious world. This is the world’s largest collection of Judaic books, all available for Klal Yisrael.
A note of interest: one of the research rooms has been closed due to lack of use, as a large proportion of those doing research or seeking information have shifted to online searches.
A landmark building on Rechov Hanevi’im, corner of Rechov B’nai B’rith, is the picturesque Tabor House (#58) built by Conrad Schick in 1882. The home has two inner courts with lush foliage and a tasteful water fountain. In 1951 this elaborate edifice with its turret and thick stone walls, was purchased by the “Swedish Protestant Society” that runs the Theological Seminary
for studies of the
there. Conrad Schick was a German Protestant missionary who arrived in Land of Israel in 1846. Schick
was an expert drafter, painter, watchmaker and carpenter, who taught himself
architectural design and archaeology. His specialty was building detailed
models of both Palestine Temples and of the ,
which were a big hit among wealthy Jerusalemites. Indeed, the exorbitant fee of
800 gold coins that he received for one of his models enabled him to construct
for his family the Beit Tabor, an imaginative combination of Eastern and
European architecture. Temple Mount
Displayed above the gate of the home is its name “Tabor” and the source in Tehillim (89:13) from which the house’s name was taken: “The north and the south — You created them, Tabor and Hermon sing joyously in Your Name.”
Palm leaves and the carved Greek letters alpha and omega adorn the facade, as do the initials of Schick’s wife and his own name. Schick lived in the house until his death in 1901. Conrad Schick also designed several other buildings on Rechov Hanevi’im. In addition, he was chosen to design Meah She’arim and Bukharim.
The Mishkan Hare’iyah, on the corners of Rechov Hanevi’im, Rechov Munbaz and Rechov Chavatzelet (21), now has a glass elevator and beautiful, verdant, artificial lawns. It had been the first domicile of Beit Chinuch Ivrim (School for the Blind), which was opened here in 1902 by Avraham Moshe Luntz, one of the first scholars of studies of Eretz Yisrael in modern times.
1854 in Kovno, he made aliyah with his family in 1869 and settled in . At the age of 25 (1879), he became
completely blind. Despite his limitations, he continued undeterred with his research,
and he published his Lu’ach Eretz Yisrael yearly,
from 1895-1915. He ran a printing press, publishing many works that were hard
to attain at the time. Jerusalem
After Beit Chinuch Ivrim moved to Givat Shaul, this building remained empty and forlorn
for many years. Eventually it was transformed into the largest visual center (1,020 sq.m.) in
: The Foundation Optical Centre
“Museum Association of Vision.” The centre offers glasses
to people in financial difficulty, dispensing hundreds of pairs of glasses
Optometrists work there Sunday through Thursday from
to 7 p.m. to give the best treatment and rehabilitation of low-vision problems.
Without making an appointment, any individual can come for a comprehensive
vision examination, but it is best to phone — (02) 624-3757 — to find out what papers you need to bring and whether you are eligible
for the discounted fee.
Children from ages 6 to 20 and adults over 60 who live in
Binyamin, Gush Etzion, Kiryat Arba, Beit Shemesh or Maale Adumim can apply, but
need to meet the centre’s criteria in order to receive glasses for a
minimal fee. Each applicant is entitled to choose from one of the 2,000 frames
shown. Ninety percent of the glasses are completed within an hour. Jerusalem