synagogue on abarbanel and frenkel

The Ahavat Chesed (“Lovingkindness”) synagogue on Abarbanel Street, Florentin – it was built sometime in the late 1930s, as far as I can tell. It was the synagogue of Rabbi Yitzhak Yedidia Frenkel, the rabbi of the then poor Florentin neighbourhood. Frenkel was apparently a popular figure amongst the locals. Today, the street facing the synagogue is called Frenkel Street in his honour.

I like to think he’d enjoy eating at the lovely kosher dairy restaurant, Shiraleh. But probably he only ate Glatt.

The menorah on the top of the synagogue is a Hanukkah menorah. I can’t remember from previous years if it is lit or not – I’ll have to wait until Hanukkah to find out…

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17 comments on “synagogue on abarbanel and frenkel”

  1. Such a simple structure. Am surprised to see so few windows in it..or in your view of it. I somehow always associate synagogues as being bathed in light.
    My Hebrew – I admit – is rusty. Doesn’t ‘chesed’ mean ‘truth’? Am always wanting to be corrected..if correction is needed.
    Love the stark white stone against the blue..and – as always – your amazing processing. I so love visiting this site!!!

  2. Interesting looking building with some major power lines surrounding it.

  3. A beautiful graphic Cat – It almost seems like a reflection in deep water. It is all geometric and linear and yet it does not seem so because of your processing. I hope you get to see the menorah lit – it should be very lovely.

  4. Lovely noise process here, simple but so beautiful composition.

  5. Wow, what an interesting architecture in deed.

    I love your work here

  6. Marcie Thanks so much, what a lovely thing to say!

    There are a couple more windows, you just can’t see them in this view. There’s no “typical” synagogue here in Israel – there are fancy ones, ones in very old, concrete buildings.

    חסד or “chesed” is hard to translate – there’s no real English equivalent but I’ve seen “lovingkindness” used most. Truth is “emet” (אמת).

    Terry – Yep, the infrastructure in this part of town needs some improvement :)

    daina – thanks :) Even if this menorah isn’t lit, there will be plenty more. And I might even get pictures!

    Conflagratio – thank you :)

    roentarre – thank you very much, and thanks for your visit!

  7. i love the strong and simple face of this place; very bold and certainly making a statement.

    i might not know what the words mean sometimes but i always think i pick up something new from your site.

  8. A nice way to add to his popularity and share the history. nice image!

  9. Thanks for the comments :)

    david – thanks, that’s what I like about the place itself actually. And it’s very cool that you get something from the site – I started it for my own enjoyment and didn’t think anyone would actually visit! Bonus!

    Andrew – thank you. I actually don’t think many people in this area know who Frenkel was although they walk on the street every day… I didn’t, til I researched him.

  10. gorgeous photo and processing, and thanks for the story too!

  11. It reminds me a lot of a mosque I know. Quite plain outside and beautiful inside.

    You mention ‘glatt’. A good friend of mine is a frequent flyer and she always asks for the kosher meal option (although she’s not Jewish) because she knows they use glatt ingredients which will be better than the standard fare.

  12. i like the slight resemblance of the menorah and utility poles.

    not that they represent the same meaning.

  13. Jon – I think your friend probably has a good idea, the meat should be better quality (at least, I imagine so). The joke about glatt of course is that it’s for people who are so observant that regular kosher just isn’t good enough… :)

    angie – There is a pattern, isn’t there :)

  14. I love your vision Cat – of course, I want Israel to look just like your photos, which I’m sure it is

  15. terrorkitten, thanks…
    this is what Israel looks like to me, and/or feels like.
    For such a tiny little country it has spectacular views and contrasts.

  16. I came across your web site as I was researching information about Rabbi Frenkel. He was indeed a very popular figure, well-respected by all, firstly as Rabbi in the neighborhood and later as Rabbi of Tel Aviv. He described in a memoir how the working class people of the neighborhood contributed to the construction of the building. He describes one couple, who worked by the sweat of their brow, and didn’t have any electricity in the hut in which they lived, collected coin by coin, to contribute 118 lirot towards the construction of the synagogue.
    He also instituted the practice of dancing with the Torah on the night after Succot/Simchat Torah – the festival that lasts for 7 days in Israel but is extended outside of Israel for one more night. In 1942, when communications from Israel with the communities in Europe was very difficult, and the fate of European Jewry was in a perilous state, he called his congregants to dance for their brethren in Europe, for who knows if they were able to do so at that time. The practice has spread and continued throughout Israel today, such that the practice of “Hakafot Shniyot” is well entrenched in modern Israeli life.
    Rav Frenkel was also the father-in-law of Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel, and presently Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, and Chairman of Yad Vashem. He was also the youngest child survivor of Buchenwald concentration camp.
    My interest in the area is also that I developed and built a residential building at 46 Harav Yedidya Frenkel Street, an area that is undergoing gentrification.

    • Thanks, Elie – very interesting indeed. It’s nice to know more about the history of the neighbourhood I live in. I know the building you mention, too – it’s a nice one and I’m glad that the neighbourhood is being renovated and improved – it needs to be – and that good quality new buildings are being built here that are within the style of the area. I wonder what Frenkel would think of the street and area today.


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