Donkeys, Beit Rachel, and Jerusalem’s Final Frontier

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Walking through the streets of the Shiloach (aka Silwan), a feeling that one has entered a different country is unmistakable. After all, the Shiloach a Jewish village was overrun by Arab squatters in the 1930s and has remained exclusively Arab until the first Jewish family returned in 2004. Thanks to the work of Ateret Cohanim, the Jewish community has grown to 35 families and potentially grow even more.

The latest renovation in the Shiloach is Beit Rachel and like most other projects in the Shiloach, reaching the work site via modern means remains elusive. So like anything else Ateret Cohanim does, the near impossible becomes possible through some ingenuity and help from some donkeys.

Beit Rachel itself is tucked away off the a pedestrian walkway and not accessible by car and so the donkeys were used to haul construction supplies to the work site and helped remove waste when done.

Despite the doubling of the neighborhoods Jewish population over the last year with the purchase of the Shiloach Heights, the Shiloach remains the final frontier of Jewish renewal in Jerusalem. Beit Rachel is key in creating contiguity between the City of David and the Yemenite Synagogue of Shiloach.

David Mark
Article by David Mark

David heads up Urban Sustainability and Community Development for Ateret Cohanim where he merges his passion for sustainability and Jerusalem into a roadmap for a redeemed capital. When he is not working with Ateret Cohanim, he is intimately involved with Land Reclamation activities in Judea and Samaria and teaching chassidut to classes in Jerusalem.


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