This is a poster urging the Jewish community of New York to participate in a demonstration to protest the “outrages by English officials and the Arabs at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.” The top of the poster is written in Yiddish and the bottom includes an English translation. The demonstration was taking place on Monday, August 26 at 2:00 pm. Although the year isn’t specified, it seems that it took place in 1929 following the riots that broke out at the Western Wall (named the Wailing Wall in the poster) on August 23. The text of the poster begins with a quote from the Torah saying “Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground!” In this quote from Genesis 4:10, God is speaking to Cain after Cain has killed his brother, Abel. The English text ends: “it is the sacred duty of every Jew and Jewess to come and take part in this demonstration.” The poster expresses the idea that all Jews are responsible for one another, and when Jews in one part of the world are in trouble, the Jews in the rest of the world must help. The organisers of the poster hold both the British, who controlled Jerusalem, and the Arabs of Jerusalem, responsible for the violence.
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Jerusalem Riots 1929 – Tensions between Arabs and Jews had been rising in the Old City of Jerusalem since 1928. The Western Wall is the last remnant of the Second Temple and is thus a holy site for Jews. Above the Wall is the Temple Mount, called the “Noble Sanctuary” by Muslims and the site of the Dome of the Rock which is holy to Muslims. In September 1928, Jews brought benches and a divider (mechitza) to the small area in front of the wall so that Yom Kippur services could be held. As a result, the grand mufti (the Arab leader) demanded that the British restrict Jewish activity in the area. This led to increased tension which increased on Tisha B’Av, August 15, 1929, the day that Jews commemorate the destruction of the Temple, with false rumours spread that the Jews were damaging the Dome of the Rock. On August 23, 1929, thousands of Arab villagers entered Jerusalem and riots broke out, causing the death of two Arabs and seventeen Jews in Jerusalem. Riots also broke out in Hebron, Safed, and Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek, where numerous other Jews were killed.
The Western Wall - The Western Wall, known colloquially as the Kotel (Hebrew for wall), has been a location for prayer for many hundreds of years. The first record of the site as a place of prayer is from the sixteenth century when Jews were given access to the location having previously prayed at the Mount of Olives as the closest site to the Temple Mount. The Kotel has been a place of worship for the Jewish people throughout history with Jewish pilgrims inscribing words on the stones from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1517, the Turkish Ottomans seized Jerusalem from the Mamluks, who had held it since 1250. Approximately fifty years later, Jews received formal permission to pray at the site, and it seems that the Turkish authorities even built a place of prayer for the Jewish worshippers. The Turks were succeeded by the British, and during the British Mandate, restrictions were placed on prayers at the Western Wall. During the subsequent post-1948 Jordanian rule over the Old City of Jerusalem, Jews were not given access to the Kotel. From June 7, 1967, following the Israeli victory in the Six Day War, Jews were once again free to pray at the Kotel. It is perhaps more accurate to say that 1967 signified the first time that the Western Wall was under Jewish control for almost 2000 years.