Musrara, Jerusalem

Musrara, Jerusalem

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Musrara also known by its Hebrew name, Morasha is a neighborhood in Jerusalem. It is bordered by Meah Shearim and Beit Yisrael
Beit Yisrael
Beit Yisrael is a predominantly Haredi neighborhood in central Jerusalem, Israel. It is located just north of Mea Shearim.The name Beit Yisrael is taken from the verse in Ezekiel , in which Ezekiel prophesies to the hills and mountains of Israel, "I shall make numerous on you the people, the...

 on the north, the Old City
Old City
-Neighborhoods :*Old City , Azerbaijan*Old City *Old City *Old City , Pakistan*Old City Multan, Pakistan*Old City , Tennessee, United States*Old City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States...

 on the south and east, and the Russian Compound and Kikar Safra to the west.

History


Musrara was founded by upper class
Upper class
In social science, the "upper class" is the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. Members of an upper class may have great power over the allocation of resources and governmental policy in their area.- Historical meaning :...

 Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 residents during the late 19th century, as a part of the "departure from the walls," during which people began living outside the Old City of Jerusalem. During the Israeli War of Independence, the Arab residents fled during the fighting or were expelled and not permitted to return to their homes. Musrara remained on the Israeli side of the border
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 between Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

.

During the early days of Israeli statehood
History of Israel
The State of Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948 after almost two millennia of Jewish dispersal and persecution around the Mediterranean. From the late 19th century the Zionist movement worked towards the goal of recreating a homeland for the Jewish people...

, there was an extreme shortage of housing for the thousands of olim (immigrants) who flooded to Jerusalem. As a result, the Ministry of Housing decided to populate the previously Arab houses with olim from North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

n countries. Due to its proximity to the new border, the residents of Musrara were exposed to daily attacks from Jordanian sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

s stationed along the border, who did their utmost to disrupt the lives of the residents. This new reality became routine until the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967.

There are a number of prominent Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 instiutions in Musrara, including the Notre Dame Hostel, the Church of Saint Paul, the French Hospice, and the Romanian Church.

In 1971, young, second-generation 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...

 from the neighborhood founded the Israeli Black Panthers
Israeli Black Panthers
The Black Panthers were an Israeli protest movement of second-generation Jewish immigrants from Middle Eastern countries. They were one of the first organizations in Israel with the mission of working for social justice for the Mizrahi Jews...

, a protest movement against the perceived injustice and discrimination by the government against them. The rage quickly spread from Musrara to all areas inhabited by poor Mizrahi Jews, and eventually evolved into a political movement.

Musrara's strategic location between the Hareidi and religious neighborhoods to the north and the secular neighborhoods to the west has contributed to its diverse population. Over the last decade some have advocated to prevent the neighborhood from becoming more Hareidi, a process which has since slowed considerably.

Today, Musrara is home to about 4,500 people, and is considered one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

Architecture


Musrara is living testimony to its diversity - and that of Jerusalem in general - over the last 130 years. Relics of every stage of architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 during this period can be found there. These can be divided into three general periods:

The first period was the Arab phase, in which large, luxurious mansions were built by rich Arabs attempting to escape the overcrowding in the Old City during the late 19th century. These houses have grand entrances, beautiful masonry and shigled roofs.

The second phase, starting from the War of Independence, were battle-torn years, with abandoned houses and difficulties resulting from its proximity to the border. The inhabitants were largely distressed, and the scene in the neighborhood was one of unemployment, poverty and neglect. It was these conditions that caused the beginnings of the Black Panther movement, where people first were exposed to the difficulties faced by new olim from North Africa. This lasted through the 1970s
1970s
File:1970s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: US President Richard Nixon doing the V for Victory sign after his resignation from office after the Watergate scandal in 1974; Refugees aboard a US naval boat after the Fall of Saigon, leading to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975; The 1973 oil...

.

The third period, beginning in the 1980s
1980s
File:1980s decade montage.png|thumb|400px|From left, clockwise: The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, lifted off in 1981; American President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev eased tensions between the two superpowers, leading to the end of the Cold War; The Fall of the Berlin Wall in...

, saw increased activity as a result of a Jerusalem Municipality project to improve the neighborhood. Regulations were introduced designed to restore the neighborhoods former glory. The renovations were all completed in the style of the magnificent Arab structures. In many of these buildings, a clear line can be seen between the lower floors, built in the Arab style, and the upper floors, which look like modern apartment buildings. These lines are the result of real estate developers who, in an attempt to increase their profit, stopped following the regulations to match the character of the neighborhood.

Cultural influence


Musrara currently serves as an important cultural center
Cultural center
A cultural center or cultural centre is an organization, building or complex that promotes culture and arts. Cultural centers can be neighborhood community arts organizations, private facilities, government-sponsored, or activist-run...

, with a number of museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

s and centers of the arts. These include the Naggar School of Photography
Naggar School of Photography
The Naggar School of Photography, Media and New Music, also known as Musrara, is an art school in the Musrara neighborhood of Jerusalem. Students can follow alternative forms of study. Graduates are required to complete an independent project. Many graduates have won awards; graduates have...

, known simply as "Musrara," the Ma'ale school of film, the School of Eastern Music, the Jerusalem Municipality's art center, the Museum on the Seam, and the Museum of Underground Prisoners
Museum of Underground Prisoners
Museum of Underground Prisoners is a museum in Jerusalem, Israel, commemorating the activity of the Jewish underground - Haganah, Irgun and Lehi - during the period leading up the establishment of the State of Israel.-History of the building:...

. Additionally, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design is scheduled to move to a new building in the nearby Russian Compound.
Since 2009, the "muslala" group that is composed of artists, creators and residents of the neighborhood, has been developing art routs : different artist are invited to create site-specific interventions in the neighborhood public space, and the public is invited to follow in their steps, using maps that are distributed for free . the group also started the musrara community garden

External links