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...this synagogue, also in the Old City and probably no more than two-three blocks away as the crow flies, but a world away here. ((ooops, fix the corner...)

Jonathan is a bit of a celebrity here having been in the first group of seven to come to the altar on the first Friday that the rebuilt synagogue was opened in early 2010.

Here's a shortened version of the story from a plaque on the wall:

"In 1700 a large group of immigrants ... arrived in Jerusalem. They settled in the Ashkenazi Courtyard in the Old city just as a synagogue reconstruction had been completed, sinking the community into debt. In 1720, when they could not repay the loans, Arab creditors burned down the synagogue and its courtyard. For over a century, the synagogue lay desolate. ...

"In 1808 hundreds of the Vilna Gaon's disciples immigrated to the Land of Israel. In 1836 they secured a permit to rebuild the destroyed courtyard, and in 1864 they dedicated the great Beit Yaakov Synagogue. ...

"Shortly before the fall of the Jewish Quarter, during the 1948 War of Independence, soldiers of the Jordanian Legion blew up the synagogue. The synagogue stood in its state of destruction for 19 years until the liberation of Jerusalem's Old City during the Six Day War. ...

"In 2005, construction and restoration of the synagogue began and it was gloriously dedicated on the first day of the month of Nissan, 5770 (2010)."

I copied this all in so you could get a feel for the language.

Check out those guys sitting toward the front on the left...
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