Today 65 years ago, during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion dynamited the largest synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The synagogue, known as the Hurva (‘The Ruins’), was originally built by destitute Lithuanian Jews in the early 18th century. In 1720, however, it was torched by Arab moneylenders who had originally financed the project; hence the “Ruins” epithet. The synagogue was later allowed to be rebuilt by the Ottomans in 1856, and it served as the central synagogue of the Old City for about a century, until it was once again destroyed in 1948. As the latter event was reported over the radio, the legendary phrase used was “Ha Hurva Hurva”– “the Ruins are in Ruins”.
The synagogue was finally in rebuilt in 2010, and can be visited today.