Har Nof

Har Nof

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Har Nof is a neighborhood on a hillside on the western boundary of Jerusalem, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, with a population of 20,000 residents, primarily Orthodox Jews.

History


In Talmudic times, Har Nof was an agricultural settlement that served Jerusalem. Remains of ancient wine presses, farmhouses and terraces built 1,500 years ago have been unearthed on the outskirts of Har Nof. The first homes in modern Har Nof were built in the early 1980s.

Geography


Har Nof is a terraced neighborhood on the slopes of a mountain that sits 813 meters above sea level. Due to the topography, many of the multi-storey apartment buildings have entrances on both sides of the building – one to reach the lower floors and another to reach the higher floors. Some streets are connected by long flights of stairs. At the foot of Har Nof lies the 1,200 dunam Jerusalem Forest
Jerusalem Forest
The Jerusalem Forest is a pine forest located in the Judean Mountains west of Jerusalem. It is surrounded by the Jerusalem neighborhoods Beit HaKerem, Yefe Nof, Ein Kerem, Har Nof, Givat Shaul, and a moshav, Beit Zeit. The forest was planted during the 1950s by the Jewish National Fund, financed by...

 (Yaar Yerushalayim), planted in the 1950s as a green lung around the city.

Demography


The majority of the residents of Har Nof are Orthodox Jews
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

, both Haredi
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 and Dati Leumi
Religious Zionism
Religious Zionism is an ideology that combines Zionism and Jewish religious faith...

. Many residents are recent olim
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

. The neighborhood has a large community of English-speaking olim
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

, including a small group of Bostoner Hasidim
Boston (Hasidic dynasty)
Boston is a Hasidic sect, originally established in 1915 by Grand Rabbi Pinchas Duvid Horowitz. Following the custom of European Chassidic Courts, where the Rebbe was called after the name of his city, Bostoner Chassidus was named after Boston, Massachusetts...

, as well as notable French-speaking and Spanish-speaking communities. There are also communities of Ger
Ger (Hasidic dynasty)
Ger, or Gur is a Hasidic dynasty originating from Ger, the Yiddish name of Góra Kalwaria, a small town in Poland....

 and Vizhnitz
Vizhnitz (Hasidic dynasty)
Vizhnitz is the name of a Hasidic dynasty founded by Rebbe Menachem Mendel Hager. Vizhnitz is the Yiddish name of Vyzhnytsia, a village in present-day Ukraine.Followers of the rebbes of Vizhnitz are called Vizhnitzer chasidim....

 Hasidim, as well many Sephardi
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 and Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews or Mizrahiyim, , also referred to as Adot HaMizrach are Jews descended from the Jewish communities of the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus...

. The former Sefardic chief rabbi
Chief Rabbi
Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

 and leader of the Shas
Shas
Shas is an ultra-orthodox religious political party in Israel, primarily representing Sephardic and Mizrahi Haredi Judaism.Shas was founded in 1984 by dissident members of the Ashkenazi dominated Agudat Israel, to represent the interests of religiously observant Sephardic and Mizrahi ...

 party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Ovadia Yosef
Ovadia Yosef is the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a recognised Talmudic scholar and foremost halakhic authority.He currently serves as the spiritual leader of the Shas political party in the Israeli parliament...

, lives in Har Nof. Spiritual leaders of the Ashkenazi Haredi community who reside in Har Nof are Rabbi Moishe Sternbuch
Moishe Sternbuch
Moishe Sternbuch is the Vice-President of the Rabbinical Court and Chief Rabbi Ra'avad of the Edah HaChareidis in Jerusalem. He resides in Har Nof where he is the rabbi of the local GR"A Synagogue, named after the Vilna Gaon of whom he is a direct descendant...

 of the Edah HaChareidis, Rabbi Meir Alter HaLevi Horowitz (the Bostoner Rebbe-Har Nof), and Rabbi Yitzchak Mordechai Rubin of Kehilat Bnei Torah.

Synagogues and public institutions



Har Nof has a large number of synagogues, yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

s and Torah study institutions, among them Heichal Hatorah, Yeshiva Pachad Yitzchok
Yeshiva Pachad Yitzchok
Yeshiva Pachad Yitzchok is a yeshiva that was established in Jerusalem, Israel in the late 1970s by Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner. It is located in the Har Nof neighborhood...

, Machon Shlomo
Machon Shlomo
Machon Shlomo is an Orthodox yeshiva for men located in Har Nof, Jerusalem, Israel. Its faculty and student body are mostly American. Classes are taught in English....

, Yeshivat Lev Aharon and Machon Yaakov
Machon Yaakov
Machon Yaakov is a baal teshuva yeshiva for men located in Har Nof, Jerusalem, Israel. Its faculty and student body are all English speaking....

. The campuses of Neve Yerushalayim
Neve Yerushalayim
Neve Yerushalayim is a network of Orthodox Jewish colleges for Jewish women, with a based in Har Nof, Jerusalem.Founded in 1970 by Rabbi Dovid Refson as an institution for young college-age female Baal teshuvas , Neve Yerushalayim has since broadened its mandate to offer Jewish studies programs...

 and She'arim College of Jewish Studies for Women are located in Har Nof, as is Yechaveh Da'at, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
Ovadia Yosef
Ovadia Yosef is the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a recognised Talmudic scholar and foremost halakhic authority.He currently serves as the spiritual leader of the Shas political party in the Israeli parliament...

's synagogue and spiritual headquarters.

Transportation


The neighborhood is linked to the city center by Kanfei Nesharim and Beit Hadfus
Beit Hadfus Street
Beit Hadfus Street , also spelled Beit Hadefus, is an east-west street in the Givat Shaul industrial zone in western Jerusalem.-Name:Beit Hadfus Street was constructed in the 1960s and named for the printing houses that established themselves there....

Streets, with a number of bus lines providing public transportation.

Communal activism


The residents of Har Nof founded Shomera, a non-profit environmental protection association to thwart the building of high-rise luxury towers that would block the view of the Jerusalem Forest. Emergency medical care in Har Nof is provided by the volunteer group Hachovesh. Em Habanim is a volunteer organization founded in 1995 by Malka Yarom, a Har Nof resident who opened her home to religious divorcees who had nowhere to take their children on the Sabbath. Now the organization has a membership of 300 and offers support to single parent families in the Haredi sector.

External links