Friday, September 27, 2013

A New Source of Historical Films and Photos: The British Imperial War Museum;
Presenting General Allenby Entering Jerusalem in 1917

The website for British army films taken in Palestine
Photographers accompanied the Imperial British Army forces throughout the battles of World War I in Palestine, starting at the Suez Canal in 1915 and continuing through the capture of Damascus in 1918.  
Turkish Camel Corps in Be'er Sheva (1917, Library of
Congress archives)

The grand scale of the fighting in Palestine is not fully recognized today even by historians, with attention often focused on the European front.  One statistic may put the fighting into perspective: The British army suffered more than half a million casualties; the Turks even more.

The Israel Daily Picture site has presented hundreds of pictures of the fighting between the British Imperial Forces and the Turkish and German forces on the battlefields of Sinai, Gaza, Be'er Sheva, and Jerusalem. Most of the photographs, such as those on this page, were found in the U.S. Library of Congress' American Colony collection.

Click on a picture to enlarge.  Click on the caption to view  the original picture.
Austrian army enters Jerusalem (1916)
Turkish troops preparing to attack the Suez Canal 1915

We present below a film from the British Imperial War Museum of British Commander Edmund Allenby's entrance into Jerusalem on December 11, 1917.  

General Allenby walking through the Jaffa Gate into the Old City of Jerusalem.  Click HERE to view the video
According to the synopsis accompanying the film:

The General entered Jerusalem on 11 December, accompanied by his staff (T. E. Lawrence ["Lawrence of Arabia"] among them), French and Italian officers, and various other international representatives. At the Jaffa gate he was greeted by a guard of Commonwealth and Allied troops; dismounting, he and his comrades entered the city on foot, as instructed. Allenby had been less than fifteen minutes in the cityAfter 400 years of Ottoman rule, Jerusalem had passed into British hands.

Next: A British Police Recruiting Film for the Palestinian Police Force, 1946: An Incredible Piece of Propaganda

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Imagine What the Jewish Temple Looked Like -- Here's a Model Built by Conrad Schick, a Jerusalem Christian, 140 Years Ago

"Model of Solomon's Temple and environs" constructed by Dr. Conrad Schick (circa 1870). The photo was probably
taken around 1900 and colorized by photographer Eric Matson some 60 years later  [The model is more representative
of Jerusalem in the days of Herod, and not in the days of Solomon.]
As Jews celebrate the Sukkot holiday around the world, their liturgy reflects the huge role the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem played on this pilgrimage holiday.

Conrad Schick 1822-1901
"Bring us to Zion, Your city, in glad song, and to Jerusalem the site of your Temple, with eternal gladness."  -- From the Musaf service during Sukkot.

Jerusalem also attracted many Christians, including Conrad Schick, a German missionary who arrived in 1846.  Schick was a self-taught architect, cartographer and archaeologist, and very well-respected by all faiths in Jerusalem.  The mark he left on Jerusalem lasts until today, particularly in the buildings and neighborhoods he designed such as the Me'ah She'arim neighborhood and the Bikur Cholim and Sha'are Zedek hospitals. His own home still stands on Hanivi'im (Prophets) Street.

Click on photos to enlarge.  Click on captions to view the original picture.

The "German" hospital (1939), now
Bikur Cholim hospital
Schick's house today
(Magister, Wikipedia)
Schick was also well known for his models of archaeological sites. A respected archaeologist, he would show up at various construction sites and digs to inspect ancient finds.  The Muslim authorities permitted him relatively free access to the Temple Mount when they requested his help in renovations.  Schick and his student, Jacob Eliahu Spafford, the adopted Jewish-born son of the American Colony founders, are credited with discovering the Silwan Tunnel tablet, credited to King Hezekiah.

Below are some of the models Schick built, photographed by the American Colony Photographic Department.

Schick's model of the Tabernacle that served the Israelites in the desert and in Shilo (circa 1900)
Shick's model of Herod's Temple (circa 1900)
Shick's model of "Hadrian's Temple and environs"

Friday, September 20, 2013

Celebrating Sukkot in Jerusalem 100 Years Ago
Re-posting a previous feature

Bukharan family in their sukka (circa 1900). Note the man on the right holding the citron and palm branch.
(Library of Congress collection)  Compare this sukka to one photographed in Samarkand 40 years earlier
As soon as the Yom Kippur fast day is over many Jews start preparations for the Sukkot (Tabernacles) holiday.  It usually involves building a sukka, a temporary structure -- sometimes just a hut -- with a thatched roof, in which Jews eat and often sleep during the seven day holiday.

Ashkenazi family (circa 1900) in the sukka
beneath the chandelier and picures
The photographers of the American Colony Photographic Department took photos of sukkot structures over a 40 year period, preserving pictures of Bukharan, Yemenite and Ashkenazi sukkot. 

Several photographs include the Jewish celebrants holding four species of plants traditionally held during prayers on the Sukkot holiday --  a citron fruit and willow, myrtle and palm branches.

Even though the sukka is a temporary structure, some families moved their furniture and finery into the sukka, as is evident in some of the pictures.

Portrait of the Bukhari family in the Sukka (1900)
Bukhari Jews, shown in pictures from around 1900, were part of an ancient community from what is today the Central Asian country Uzbekistan. They started moving to the Holy Land in the mid-1800s. 

A Yemenite Jew named Yehia
holding the 4 species in the sukka

Yehia, the Yemenite Jew pictured here, was almost certainly part of a large migration of Jews who arrived in Jerusalem in the 1880s, well before the famous "Magic Carpet" operation that brought tens of thousands to the new state of Israel during 1949 and 1950.

A more elaborate sukka in the Goldsmidt house (1934)
in Jerusalem.  Note the tapestry on the walls
with Arabic script

The Bassam family sukka in Rehavia, Jerusalem
neighborhood (1939)

Exterior of the Goldsmidt sukka in Jerusalem (1934)

A Sephardi Jew named Avram relaxing in
his Sukka with a friend (1939)

The picture of an elaborate dinner was taken in a very large Jerusalem sukka belonging to the Goldsmidt family. Tapestries and fabrics hang on the wall of the sukka.  Close examination shows that the fabric contains Arabic words, even some hung upside down.  Several experts were asked this week to comment on the Arabic.  One senior Israeli Arab affairs correspondent wrote, "It is apparently some quotes that I can read but do not amount to anything coherent, written in Kufi style of Arabic... [I] would not be surprised if these are Kuranic verses."

Presumably the Goldsmidts and their guests didn't know about the Arabic phrases either. 

A reader helped identify the Goldsmidts' building.   "The Goldsmidts were friends of ours who lived on Ben-Maimon Street [in Jerusalem]. They had a restaurant [and that explains the diners in the sukka].  Our wedding reception was there.  There's a plaque on 54 King George Street that says "Goldsmidt Building." 
We invite readers to unravel the mystery of the tapestries, translate the phrases,  and provide a contemporary picture of the Goldsmidts' building.
Click on the photos to enlarge.  Click on the captions to see the originals.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Reposting - Yom Kippur 100 Years Ago -- Or More:
Photographic Treasures from the Library of Congress
from Jerusalem, New York and a French Battlefield

Jews at the Kotel on Yom Kippur (circa 1904) See analysis of the graffiti on the wall for dating this picture. The graffiti on
the Wall are memorial notices (not as one reader suggested applied to the photo later).

Tomorrow Jews around the world will commemorate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  For many Jews in the Land of Israel over the centuries the day meant praying at the Western Wall, the remnant of King Herod's retaining wall of the Temple complex destroyed in 70 AD.

We present here an update to last year's Yom Kippur posting.

Several readers commented on the intermingling of men and women in these historic pictures.
It was not by choice. 
The Turkish and British rulers of Jerusalem imposed restrictions on the Jewish worshippers,  prohibiting chairs, forbidding screens to divide the men and women, and even banning the blowing of the shofar at the end of the Yom Kippur service.

View this video, Echoes of a Shofar, to see the story of young men who defied British authorities between 1930 and 1947 and blew the shofar at the Kotel.

Another view of the Western Wall on Yom Kippur. Note the various groups of worshippers: The
Ashkenazic Hassidim wearing the fur shtreimel hats in the foreground, the Sephardic Jews
wearing  the fezzes in the center, and the women in the back wearing white shawls. (circa 1904)

For the 19 years that Jordan administered the Old City, 1948-1967, no Jews were permitted to pray at the Kotel.  
The Library of Congress collection contains many pictures of Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall over the last 150 years.

After the 1967 war, the Western Wall plaza was enlarged and large areas of King Herod's wall have been exposed.  Archaeologists have also uncovered major subterranean tunnels -- hundreds of meters long -- that are now open to visitors to Jerusalem.
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Click on the photos to enlarge.
Click on the captions to see the originals.
Photos of Yom Kippur in New York 105 Years Ago
The Library of Congress Archives also contain historic photos of Jewish celebration of the High Holidays in New York.  Some of them were posted here before Rosh Hashanna.  Here are two more: 
Original caption: Men and boys standing in
front of synagogue on Yom Kippur (Bain
News Service, circa 1907)

Worshippers in front of synagogue (Bain
News Service, 1907)

And a Picture of Jews in the Prussian Army Worshipping on Yom Kippur 140 Years Ago
We were a little surprised to find this picture of a lithograph in the Library of Congress archives.  The caption reads, "Service on the Day of Atonement by the Israelite soldiers of the Army before Metz 1870."  No other information is provided.
Kestenbaum & Company, an auctioneer in Judaica, describes the lithograph in their catalogue:
This lithograph depicts the Kol Nidre service performed on Yom Kippur 1870 for Jewish soldiers in the Prussian army stationed near Metz (Alsace region) during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
   The Germans had occupied Metz by August of 1870, however were unable to capture the town's formidable fortress, where the remaining French troops had sought refuge. During the siege, Yom Kippur was marked while hostilities still continued, as depicted in the lithograph.
Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, a scholar and Reform Jewish leader who passed away at age 99 earlier this year, provided more facts about the picture.  In fact, he called it a "fraud." 
In Eight Decades: The Selected Writings of W. Gunther Plaut. In a chapter entitled "The Yom Kippur that Never Was, A Pious Pictoral Fraud" he wrote: 
 Of all the things in my grandfather's house, I remember most vividly a large print.  It was entitled "Service on the Day of Atonement by the Israelite soldiers before Metz 1870."  Later I was to learn that this print hung in many Jewish homes.... It was reproduced on postcards, on cloth, and on silk scarves. The basic theme was the same: in an open field before Metz, hundreds of Jewish soldiers were shown at prayer.
 Rabbi Plaut cites a participant in the service who reported:

 A considerable difficulty arose in relation to the place for the services. Open air services were deemed impossible for Tuesday night because of the darkness and were ruled out for Wednesday because of the obvious reasons [it was a battlefield].... My immediate neighbour was willing to grant me the use of his room so that the service took place in our two adjoining rooms.

Another participant in the unusual Yom Kippur service reported, according to Plaut:
Of the 71 Jewish soldiers in the Corps some 60 had appeared. Amongst them were several physicians, a few members of the military government, all of them joyously moved to celebrate Yom Kippur.  The place of prayer consisted of two small rooms.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Year's Greeting to Our Jewish Readers
May you be inscribed and photographed in the Book of Life

Tashlich prayer on the Brooklyn Bridge, 1909.
The Near Year prayer is traditionally said at a body
of water where the worshipper "casts" his/her sins
Israel Daily Picture normally focuses on pictures of the Holy Land in the Library of Congress archives' American Colony collection. 

In honor of Rosh Hashanna, we present pictures of the holiday in New York City, taken in the early 1900s by George Bain and also housed in the Library of Congress archives.

Jewish boy in prayer shawl on Rosh Hashanna (1911)

Tashlich prayer on the Brooklyn bridge (1919)

Jews praying on the Jewish New Year (circa 1905)

Rosh Hashanna worshippers (1907)

Tashlich on the Brooklyn Bridge (1909)

Going to prayers (circa 1910)

Going to synagogue (circa 1910)

Selling New Year's cards, East Side, New York City (1910)

"New Year's Parade" (1912)

Jewish New Year's nap, East Side (1912)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy New Year! Jews Will Blow the Shofar (Ram's Horn) in Synagogues on Thursday and Friday

Yemenite Jew blowing the shofar (circa 1935)
"Blow the Shofar at the New Moon...Because It Is a Decree for Israel, a Judgment Day for the God of Jacob"  - Psalms 81

Jews around the world prepare for Rosh Hashanna this week, the festive New Year holiday when the shofar -- ram's horn -- is blown in synagogues. 

The American Colony photographers recorded a dozen pictures of Jewish elders blowing the shofar in Jerusalem some 80 years ago.  The horn was also blown in Jerusalem to announce the commencement of the Sabbath.  During the month prior to Rosh Hashana, the shofar was blown at daily morning prayers to encourage piety before the High Holidays.   

Ashkenazi Jew in Jerusalem blowing the shofar to announce the Sabbath

Yemenite Rabbi Avram, donning tfillin for his
daily prayers, blowing the shofar

View the American Colony Photographers' collection of shofar blowers in Jerusalem here.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.
Click on captions to view the original picture.

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