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Praise O Jerusalem
Official Medal, 2003/5763
Honoring the 4 Sephardi Synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem
The four Synagogues are named: the Rabbi Johanan Ben-Zakai, Eliahu Hanavi, the Istanbul, and the Emtzai (Middle) Synagogue.
The most important of the four is the Johanan Ben-Zakai Synagogue, which according to tradition was the site where the Tana’im (teachers of the Mishna) erected a synagogue, after the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E.
In 1835 the four synagogues were renovated and combined into a single complex.
During the siege of the Old City’s Jewish Quarter in the 1948 War of Independence, the building served as a shelter for the residents. When the Quarter fell to the Jordanian forces, the defenders were removed and the synagogues were looted and burned. In the 1967 Six Day War the Old City fell to the Israel Defence Forces.
One of the major projects in the devastated Jewish Quarter was the restoration of the four ancient synagogues, precisely according to their original form and special atmosphere.
Inscribed around the rim is the phrase “Praise the Lord O Jerusalem”, taken from the Book of Psalms, which had become a kind of anthem of the old-time Jerusalemites.
Holy Ark of the Johanan Ben-Zakai synagogue, and a seated figure representing the Tanna (Mishna Teacher) Rabbi Jochanan Ben Zakai.
Decorative motifs from the other three synagogues.
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