Monday, August 6, 2012

Bnei Brak, 2,000 Years Ago Home to Talmudic Scholars,
Reborn in 1924 as an Agricultural Village,
Today, an Ultra-Orthodox City

Bnei Brak's synagogue, built in 1928
Mentioned in the Book of Joshua, the town of Bnei Brak was well known in Talmudic days as home to the famous Rabbi Akiva (second century, CE). The town is also mentioned in the Passover Seder service as a meeting place for the leading rabbis of the Talmud.
Bnei Brak (circa 1930)

In 1922, in an area not far from the ruins of ancient Bnei Brak, a group of Orthodox Jews from Warsaw, Poland purchased land from an Arab village in order to establish a farming community.  The town's cornerstone was laid in 1924. 

Bnei Brak bank for "agri-
culture and business"
(circa 1928)
The new town of Bnei Brak (circa 1928)
Situated between Tel Aviv, Petach Tikva, and Ramat Gan, the town attracted a large population of ultra-Orthodox Jews. 

Today, Bnei Brak is one of Israel's most densely populated cities, with a population of 170,000.

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1 comment:

  1. Bnei Brak takes its name from the ancient Biblical city of Beneberak, preserved in the name of the Palestinian village of Ibn Ibraq ("Son of Ibraq/Barak") which was located 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) to the south of where Bnei Barak was founded in 1924.[4]
    Bnei Brak was founded as an agricultural village by Yitzchok Gerstenkorn and a group of Polish chasidim. Due to a lack of land many of the founders turned to other occupations and the village began to develop an urban character. Arye Mordechai Rabinowicz, formerly rabbi of Kurów in Poland, was the first rabbi. He was succeeded by Rabbi Yosef Kalisz, a scion of the Vurker dynasty. The town was set up as a religious settlement from the outset, as is evident from this description of the pioneers: "Their souls were revived by the fact that they merited what their predecessors had not. What particularly revived their weary souls in the mornings and toward evening, when they would gather in the beis medrash situated in a special shack which was built immediately upon the arrival of the very first settlers, for tefilla betzibbur (communal prayer) three times a day, for the Daf Yomi shiur, and a Gemara shiur and an additional one in Mishnayos and the Shulchan Oruch."[5]bnei brak was once mentioned in a mishnah
    Bnei Brak achieved city status in 1950.