The Jewish Community of Hebron dates back to Biblical times with Abraham's purchase of the Cave of Machpela and surrounding field as a burial site for his wife Sarah 3,800 years ago.
Subsequently, Abraham was buried there, as well as the Biblical heroes Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob (Israel) and Leah. The resting place of these three couples, along with the mystical tradition that Adam and Eve are buried there as well, make the Tomb of the Machpela the second holiest place for Jews in the world and a place of pilgrimage for Bible-loving people worldwide.
As the land apportioned to the tribe of Judah, Hebron was known for its lush agricultural environment ideal for harvesting grapes for wine production. Hebron continued to be an important city, becoming the King David's first capital before the First Temple. Later, King Herod the Great built a grand building on top of Cave of Machepla in a style to match the Second Temple.
Today the Tomb of Machpela complex is the world's oldest structure used for the same purpose for which it was erected. Jewish people have always been drawn to this place, and thus a community continued in Hebron from antiquity to the Middle Ages, attracting many exiles from the Spanish Inquisition. In the 16th century, the community continued to flourish, rivaling Tsfat as a center of Kabbalah. Later, centers of Jewish learning from Europe such as the Chabad hasidic movement and the Slabodka Yeshiva relocated to the area. However, the community came to an abrupt end in the 1929 Jihad riots in which 67 Jews were murdered.
In the aftermath of the Six Day War, when Hebron was liberated from Jordanian occupation, the Jewish community was permanently reestablished. As of 2016, Hebron has over 1,000 residents which includes to over 300 students of the Shavei Hebron yeshiva, which is headquartered on the ruins of the old Beit Romano building abandoned after the riots. Hebron's Jewish community is surrounded by approximately 9,000 residents of nearby Kiryat Arba and over a dozen communities in the Har Hevron Regional Council area.
Hebron is home to many Jewish historical sites such as the Tombs of Jesse and Ruth, Othniel Ben Knaz, Abner Ben Ner, and the Tel Hevron archaeological site. The most well known site is the Tomb of Machpela which receives over 700,000 visitors a year. Popular times to visit Hebron include Parshat Chaya Sarah, the Shabbat weekend in which the Torah portion describing Abraham's purchase of the Cave of Machpela is read. Other popular events include the annual Passover music festival and annual Sukkot music festival.
Residents of Hebron are known for their hospitality in the tradition of Abraham and Sarah. The Hebron Fund organizes weekly visits guided by licensed tour guides. For more information on tours and donation opportunities contact the Hebron Fund at:
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
Brooklyn, NY 11230
In Israel contact the offices of the Jewish Community of Hebron at:
Egged bus #160 leaves from the Jerusalem Central Bus station and stops in front of the Tomb of Machpela. For detailed information visit the Egged website