The happy couple, Avi Pashnov and Racheli-Orly Jorno, joined a distinguished list of couples who were married at the synagogue, including the son of the first British high commissioner of Palestine, Herbert Samuel, who was married there in 1920.
Under the chuppa (Photo: Roman Yanoshevsky)
According to Daniel Shukrun, assistant director-general at the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter, Tuesday night's wedding was the first to be held in the synagogue's main yard and inside the building since its reconstruction. Additional couples will be married at the site this week.
Hurva is the most prominent and important synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, and was reopened about a year ago. It was first built in the 18th century by a group of Ashkenazi Jews with Rabbi Yehuda Hehasid.
Heavy taxes imposed on the Jews, along with fines and interests on loans taken for its construction, led to debts which the community members could not pay. In 1720, the yard was destroyed by the Muslim creditors and the synagogue was torched. It remained deserted for about 100 years.
Reconstruction of old building (Photo: Roman Yanushevsky)
In the early 19th century, disciples of the Vilna Gaon arrived in Israel and asked Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali for permission to rebuild the place. The construction work was completed in 1864, and a new synagogue called Beit Yaakov – after Jakob Mayer de Rothschild – was built. The place became a central site in the Jewish Quarter, hosting events and celebrations, including weddings.
The synagogue was active until 1948, but was destroyed in the battle for the Old City. Jordanian soldiers bombed the synagogue, and only one wall survived. Israel regained full control of the Jewish Quarter in the Six-Day War, and in 1973 an arch was built on the ruins of the synagogue, and became a symbol.
In 2006, the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter, together with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, began the reconstruction work, which ended in Passover 2010.
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