From Constantinople to Jerusalem – The Jewish community of Jerusalem during the Ottoman period

Take a tour through the tracks of 400 years of Jewish settlement inside the walls of the Ottoman city.

“What can I tell you of this land? Tremendous neglect and vast desolation! And above all: whoever destroys more than the other is praised more than the other.”

-         Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman


Selim I conquered Jerusalem with great fanfare and built the wall that surrounds the Old City to this day. Yet throughout the 400 years of Ottoman rule in Jerusalem, the city seems to have been forgotten, and it steadily deteriorated.


Jerusalem was always in the hearts of Jews, though. Under Ottoman rule and especially following the Spanish expulsion, a diverse and God-fearing Jewish community was established in Jerusalem.


We will follow the footsteps of the Sephardim, Ashkenazim, Hasidim, and Mitnagdim (opponents of Hasidism) of Jerusalem during the Ottoman period. We will hear about charitable and benevolent institutions, great rabbis and minor miracles, good days, and everyday life amidst the courtyards and alleyways of the city.


Among other questions to be answered: What do Jews use to oil the keys of the city’s gates? When did Elijah the Prophet visit the residents of Jerusalem? How do you do laundry without a machine?


The sites of the tour include Jaffa Gate, Zion Gate, the four Sephardic synagogues, Batei Mahse Square, Hurva Synagogue, and the Old Yishuv Court Museum.


Some of the sites on the tour require an entrance fee.



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