For One Family, Living in Kfar Shiloach Is About Completing A Broken Circle

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Nira and Eldad Rabinowicz and their children never believed that their life as urban pioneers in what is known outside of Israel as Silwan would be easy. Surrounded by Arabs, the 22 Jewish families of Kfar Shiloach or the old Yemenite Village are on a mission – to return to what was a Jewish village just outside the Old City up until the late 1930s.

For the Rabinowicz’s it is something far more. Many of Eldad’s family are buried on the Mount of Olives near to Kfar Shiloach.

Eldad recounts how on a recent day he was able to take part in a a ceremony dedicating new grave stones for his grandmother’s grandparents who were from Bukhara that had been destroyed by Arab vandals. After the ceremony he walked to another section and placed stones on the grave of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov – his grandfather’s grandfather, the leader of the GRA’s students who came to Israel.

In a world in which the truth of Jewish history is constantly challenged, there are times that we see that urban pioneering is far more than just about developing Jerusalem – it is about closing circles and cementing the truth of our belief that the Land of Israel is ours. It is about saying to anti-Jewish vandals that our dead are more than just a historical point, but part of who we are.

Ultimately, our presence is not something alien, but natural and for many even if surrounded by a violent enemy creates a connection to the relative recent past that completes a circle that was broken only briefly.

We have returned to something that is steeped in our history – not only Biblical, but like Eldad Rabinowicz shows, we have sojourned far from here – even if the world says otherwise.

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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