Ramban Synagogue

Ramban Synagogue

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Ramban Synagogue

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The Ramban Synagogue ( ), is the oldest active synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was founded by Nahmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nahman, whose name is often abbreviated as Ramban) in 1267. by Larry Domnitch (The Jewish Magazine) Today it is located at the corner of Ha-Yehudim Street and the square in the Jewish Quarter.


The foundation of the building comprises vault resting on Romanesque and Byzantine capitals. Along with the fact that there are no Gothic or Islamic architectural features, this suggests that the original building predates the Crusader period.

The synagogue is located three meters below street level, to comply with Muslim restrictions for Dhimmi houses of prayer not to be higher than mosques.


13th century

After the Disputation of Barcelona, Nahmanides was exiled from Aragon, and in 1267 he made aliyah to the Land of Israel. In a letter to his son, he described the Jewish community of Jerusalem devastated by the Crusades:

Seventy two years old, he undertook the effort to rebuild the Jewish community and chose a ruined house on Mount Zion to reconstruct it as a synagogue. A number of Jews moved to Jerusalem after hearing of Nahmanides' arrival. The Torah scroll that were evacuated to Shechem before the Mongol invasion were returned. In three weeks, for Rosh Hashanah, the synagogue was ready for use.

16th century

In 1586, the synagogue was closed under the order of...
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