Hebron Street As A Bridge Between The Past And Future
Every time I take groups on tour to the Old Jewish Quarter, there is one street that people connect to more than any other. Hebron Street, today called Al-Khalidiyya Street was home to 1,299 Jews and was considered the center of Jewish life in the Old City until the Arab pogroms that occurred in 1920, 1929, and 1936 decimated the Jewish presence there.
From 1948 to 1967, like all other places in the Old City, Hebron Street was void of Jews – their houses stolen from them.
While tourists have streamed to what is today called the Jewish Quarter, Hebron Street only known by its colonized name – Al-Khalidiyya, Al-Khalidiyya Street.
However, over the last 40 years a quiet miracle has taken place. Jewish pioneers have slowly made their way back to Hebron Street. Sometimes through court cases and very often through real estate purchases, Jewish families and institutions have moved back. This process has picked up even faster over the last few years and today, Hebron Street has an appearance of a mini Jewish Quarter.
Children walk freely between homes and Jewish residents are seen at all times during the day. Most beautifully, the Golden Dome, which covers the Holy of Holies can be seen clearly, its watchful gaze standing witness of the Jewish return to all of Jerusalem.
Hebron Street has returned. Are we ready to fully return to it? In a way it serves as a historical anchor for much of the modern Jewish presence there. It beckons and draws us to it – anchoring us to our history as a bridge to the past and hope for our future.