A. Orphaned sisters arrive at Aliza's care center
B. Group of girls at Aliza's care center. Standing second to the left is Chava (Hoz) Borodovsky
C. Livestock yard in Meir Shfeya
D. Sleeping room at Aliza's care center
E. Shfeya vegetable garden
F. Ornamental garden in Shfeya

Orphanage which became youth village

How did an orphanage for girls in post-WWI Jerusalem turn into the Shfeya Youth Village, and what did life look like during the institution's early years? A peek at Chava (Hoz) Borodovsky's album

Following three articles reviewing the 1930-1950s at the Meir Shfeya Youth Village, we are now taking a small leap back in time, to the first days of the children's village in the area.


The Meir Shfeya colony was founded by Baron de Rothschild in 1890, near Zichron Yaacov. Its name is a combination of two words from a completely different origin: "Meir" is the name of the baron's father, while "Shfeya" is distortion of the name of a village called Shveia which was located in the area.


The person responsible for idea to establish a youth village near Meir Shfeya was Israel Belkind, one of the first members of the Bilu group, after bringing Jewish orphans rescued from the Kishinev pogroms to Israel.


Belkind named the place "Kiryat Sefer". The secretary of the children's village was Israel Shochat, one of the founders of the Hashomer defense organization. After two years of dispute with the baron's emissaries at the colony, Belkind was prompted to move the children to Ben-Shemen.


By the way, in 1917, when the Turks expelled Tel Aviv's residents up north, the place temporarily housed the Herzliya Hebrew High School.


World War I left many orphaned children in Jerusalem. A girl's institution called "Aliza's care center" was established at the yard of the Diskin Orphanage on Neviim Street with the help of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. In 1923, Aliza's care center was moved to Shfeya, where it began developing.


Aliza's care center was run in its first years in Shfeya by Chava (Hoz) Borodovsky. Chava was the sister of Dov Hoz, one of the founders of the Haganah organization, and was the only passenger to survive a road accident in December 1940, which killed Dov, his business partner Yitzhak Ben-Yaacov, his wife Rivka Sharett and her sister Tirtza, and Chava's younger daughter Ora.


I found the photos for this article thanks to Ada (Borodovsky) Tamir, Chava's eldest daughter, and I thank her for letting me present them here.


Unfortunately, there is not much information available about the "Aliza care center" period. We ask those who possess such information to hand it over to us for documentation purposes.


1. At the yard of Aliza's care center in Jerusalem, 1921: 1 – Chava (Hoz) Borodovsky, the care center's manager, 2 – Ada, Chava's daughter who grew up with the orphans in her early years, 3 – Yona Ziselman, a nursemaid at the care center


2. Girls engage in embroidery and knitting at Aliza's care center


3. Girls at Aliza's care center


4. Group photo at Aliza's care center: A – Chava (Hoz) Borodovsky, B – her husband Yosef Borodovsky, one of the center's managers, F – Sara Zisling (Aharon Zisling's wife), E – Rachel (from Brazil)


5. Meir Shfeya Youth Village's main building


6. Blossoming in Shfeya


7. A plant nursery in Shfeya


8. A sickroom in Shfeya


9. 1923, the first British commissioner to the Land of Israel, Herbert Samuel, visits Shfeya. Chava Borodovsky is standing behind him.


10. 1 – Sara Zisling, 3 – Rachel (came from Brazil), 5 – Nechama Ziselman


11. A wedding at Shfeya


12. From the youth village's milieu: Shfeya girls at painting class


13. Ironing room


14. Laundry room


15. In the kitchen


16. Washing clothes outside


  • For all trips to the past – click here


פרסום ראשון: 05.08.09, 14:35
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