Monday, June 25, 2012

Another Mystery Photo Identified.
New depth to the historical record of Mikve Yisrael

"A Jewish colony" dated sometime between 1898 and 1946.
Where and when was the picture taken?
The buildings in the circles help identify the site
Here are more pictures from the American Colony collection dated between 1898 and 1946.  Not only is the date uncertain, but so is the location of the pictures.  
"Harvesting, Jewish colony" (1898-1946)
Note the ultra-Orthodox man under the
umbrella. In the Library of Congress
digital collection the two harvesting
pictures are adjacent to the large photo
of the horse and buggy on the top right

"Jewish colony harvesting" (1898-1946)
Note the same machinery in the two
Using landmarks and comparing the horse and buggy picture to other photographs, we can identify the unnamed "Jewish Colony" and suggest a time and vicinity for the harvesting pictures. 

The photo of the horse and buggy on the top right was taken at the Mikve Yisrael Agricultural School, established in 1870, near what later became Tel Aviv.  Note the building with the central chimney which appears in other photographs below.  The "Jewish colony harvesting" pictures are located in adjacent files to the horse and buggy picture.

The American Colony photographers took dozens of pictures of the "Jewish colonies and settlements," no doubt reflecting their Christian "end-of-days" theology  which supported the return of Jews to the Holy Land.  The founder of the American Colony's photographic department, Elijah Meyers, a Jew from India who converted to Christianity, produced a photographic documentary of the Jewish communities already in 1897.

An earlier posting:

Training Israel's Farmers 140 Years Ago at Mikve Yisrael Agricultural School 

Photo captioned "Mikweh"
Note the two buildings in the
buggy picture
Mikveh Yisrael students
In 1867, young residents of Jerusalem requested assistance from Jews in Europe in order to build outside the Old City walls. "We're not requesting charity," they wrote, "but work. Provide us the land, put in our hands the tools and send us the people who will teach us to work the land." 

The Mikve Yisrael Agricultural School was the result.  

"Mikweh" photo and the chimney
Founded in 1870 by Karl Netter of the French Jewish organization, Alliance IsraĆ©lite Universelle, the school was allocated 750 acres by Palestine's Ottoman rulers. It was one of the first modern Jewish schools in Eretz Yisrael 
Wine cellar (1898)

 Pictured here (left) is the Mikve Yisrael wine cellar, built in 1883.

The montage of the
two men.(Not from the
Library of Congress

The school was the site of the historic 1898 meeting between Theodore Herzl and the German Emperor, Wilhelm II.  Herzl requested that the Emperor intercede with his ally, the Ottoman Sultan, to establish a Jewish state.  

The famous picture of the meeting, however, is not real. The photographer (apparently not one of the American Colony photographers) "missed the shot" and created a photo montage instead.

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