How Jerusalem Got Its Quarters

As anyone who has visited the Old City of Israel’s capital knows, it is divided into four sections: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian. Shlomo Deutsch explores the origins of this division, and how each quarter evolved:

The first map to include names that resemble the names of today’s four quarters (Armenian, Christian, Muslim, Jewish) was produced by the British lieutenants Edward Aldrich and Julian Simmonds in 1841, and later labeled by Rev. G. Williams in 1849. However, some of these names (Christian and Armenian) already appear in European travelers’ writings in 1806.

The Hebrew University professor Yehoshua Ben-Aryeh suggests that each religious group to move into the Old City built its community around focal points significant to its religion. . . . For Muslims, the Temple Mount, which houses the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque, served as a major force of attraction. . . . The Christian community took root around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Armenians, [the vast majority] of whom were Christian, were drawn by the Church of St. James, their most significant church in the Old City. The scope of the Armenian quarter is elusive, some defining it only as a certain walled-off area that was locked at nights.

Initially, the Jewish Quarter spanned from the “Street of the Jews” eastward to the Western Wall (excluding the adjacent Mughrabi neighborhood). . . . At the beginning of the 19th century, the Jewish quarter was almost entirely comprised of Sephardi Jews, with some 2,200 Sephardi Jews and a minimal number of Ashkenazim. Once Ashkenazim began moving in, they chose to settle near the Sephardim, holding their services in several Sephardi synagogues, including the Beit-El synagogue, until the Ashkenazi. community built the Menachem Tzion synagogue in 1837.

Read more at Jewish Link

More about: Jerusalem, Land of Israel, Synagogues

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus