This is a photograph of Jerusalem taken by Rudi Weissenstein in 1937. The view of the city of Jerusalem is taken from the west facing towards the east. Visible from left to right are the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, Jewish neighbourhoods to the northwest of the Old City, the King David Hotel, and Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion. The body of water on the left-hand side of the photograph appears to be Mamilla pool, an artificial reservoir that supplied water to people living in the Old City. It is not known when the pool was dug; some claim that the pool was one of Herod’s construction projects.
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Jerusalem – Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism and has played a significant part in Jewish and general world history, hosting many biblical and historical events. The most significant for Jews is the belief that the two Jewish temples stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. From the time of the destruction of the Second Temple until the end of the British Mandate, Jerusalem was ruled by different nations, and only with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 did the Jewish people rule the city for the first time in over 2,000 years. However, as a result of the War of Independence, Jordan had control of the eastern part of the city which included the Old City and the Western Wall (the Kotel). For 19 years the city was divided by barbed wire, and Jews were prohibited from entering the eastern Jordanian-controlled side. Jerusalem was nonetheless declared Israel’s capital during this period. Today, Jerusalem is home to Jews, Christians and Muslims. It is Israel’s largest city and houses the Knesset (the parliament), all government and national institutes, and many academic, religious, and cultural buildings and institutions.
Hatzalmania (PhotoHouse) – Rudi (Rudolph) Weissenstein (1910–1992) was born in Czechoslovakia, where he studied photography from his father before going to school in Vienna. Weissenstein moved to Israel in 1935 after experiencing anti-Semitism. In Israel, he began working as an independent photographer, taking photographs all over Israel and providing pictures of the pre-state development which were spread all over the world. In 1940, Weissenstein opened the Pri-Or Photo House, later known as Hatzalmania or PhotoHouse, where he built an archive of his work along with documentation about the subjects. After his death in 1992, his wife and, later, his grandson continued to run the Photo House.