History

The Jewish Community of Hebron, Israel, 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 peoples 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 that is being used for the same purpose it was erected for. The Jewish people were always drawn to this place and 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 about 1,000 residents which includes over 350 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.

USA contact info:

THE HEBRON FUND
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-677-6886
info@hebronfund.org
http://www.hebronfund.org

In Israel contact the offices of the Jewish Community of Hebron at:
http://http://en.hebron.org.il
02-996-5333
office@hebron.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hebronofficial

Public transportation:
Egged bus #381 leaves from the Jerusalem Central Bus station and stops in front of the Tomb of Machpela. For detailed information visit the Egged website
http://www.egged.co.il/homepage.aspx
or Bus.co.il

History Topics

History Calendar

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