From Ruin to Redemption - The Story of Beit Romano

8.12.15, 22:36
The Beit Romano Building was built in 1879 by the wealthy Turkish merchant, Haim Yisrael Romano and marked the establishment of Jewish neighborhoods outside what was considered the "Jewish ghetto" of Hebron.  It served as a guest house and the "Istanbul Synagogue" was later established on its premises which served Sephardic worshipers whose families had escaped the Spanish Inquisition.
In the year 1901, the famous Rabbi Chaim Hezekiah Medini moved to the Land of Israel and opened a yeshiva at Beit Romano. It was here that he completed his monumental Talmudic encyclopedia the Sde Hemed and served as chief Sephardic rabbi of the city.
In 1912, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn of the Chabad movement, established the Torath Emeth Yeshiva on the site after having purchased the building along with the surrounding grounds. The original Ottoman land deeds (kushan) are currently displayed in the building along with other legal documents and photos of the famous rabbis who lived and taught there. 
During World War I, when the British defeated the Turkish in 1917 and took control of the Land of Israel, they converted Beit Romano into a police headquarters. 
After the 1929 Hebron massacre, the bodies of the Jewish victims, as well as the wounded and survivors were held at the site prior to their expulsion from the city.
In 1948, the Jordanians capture Hebron and the building was used as a school called Madreset Osama, named after Osama ibn Mun-qidh (also spelled Osama bin al Munqiz), a Crusader-era Muslim writer from Syria. 

When city finally returned to Jewish hands in the Six Day War of 1967, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, turned over all rights to previously held Chabad property to the nascent Jewish settlement, giving his blessing to the young families seeking to repopulate the neighborhoods.
After the terrorist ambush that killed six people in 1980, the building was returned to Jewish hands. Yeshiva Shavei Hevron, under Rabbi Moshe Bleicher moved to the Beit Romano building. During the years 1996-2000, the building was renovated and in the process, another floor was discovered underneath the building and two more floors were added onto the existing ones. 

Today the building stands five stories tall and boasts of a large adjacent dining hall. Yeshivat Shavei Hebron is considered a flagship educational institution of religious Zionism.
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