Meyuchas House at the City of David

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In 1873 the Meyuchas family left the Old City, the gates of which were locked at nightfall during that time, and built their home in the City of David.  During excavations carried out by the French Jewish archaeologist, Raymond Weill, from 1913 – 1914 a number of caves that he identified as the tombs of the House of David were discovered beneath the Meyuchas home.  During the Roman era the place was used as a quarry resulting in extensive damage to the caves which made their identity more difficult to identify.  As a result of the discovery of the caves and subsequent plans to dig beneath their home, the Meyuchas family left the area.  Excavations revealed a Greek inscription that makes mention of a Jerusalem synagogue as well as a man named Theoditus ben Vetnus.  He and his ancestors served as heads of the synagogue during the days of the Second Temple.  This discovery provides rare archaeological proof that there were synagogues in Jerusalem even while the Second Temple stood.  The efforts of the Meyuchas family to establish a Jewish community in the area came to fruition in 1991 when the large-scale reestablishment of a Jewish residential community in the area began.  Today the community comprises more than two hundred and fifty residents.

To the east, among the homes of the Village of Silwan (the name Silwan is a distortion of the ancient name Shiloach), a Yemenite neighborhood was established in 1884.  The Yemenites immigrated to Israel in the “I Shall Ascend the Palm” immigration of 1882.  Due to a lack of housing and economic strife, some of the Yemenite immigrants made their homes in burial caves on the Mount of Olives.  Later, the Jews of Jerusalem rallied to their aid and built housing for them in the vicinity.  At the height of its growth, the community numbered approximately 150 families.  This neighborhood was abandoned during the Arab uprising of 1936-1939.  Evidence of Yemenite housing in the village can still be found in the indentations from mezuzot that remain on the doorposts of some of the homes.
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