The Isaac Kaplan Old Yishuv Court Museum is located in Or Ha-Haim Street, a narrow passageway that winds its way from the Jewish Quarter to the Armenian Quarter. The museum, housed in an enchanting, ancient building, offers a glimpse at the daily life of the Jewish community in Jerusalem living between the walls of the Old City in the 19th and 20th centuries, until their expulsion in 1948. This courtyard, one of the few owned by Jews, was the home of the Weingarten family, descendents of Shlomo Pach, one of the first Ashkenazi Jews to settle in the Quarter at the beginning of the 19th century.
Rabbi Abraham Haim Weingarten and his wife lived in one of the rooms in the courtyard until the capture of the Jewish Quarter in 1948, when they were taken into Jordanian captivity. After the Six-Day War, the Weingarten family returned to their courtyard and established a museum that was opened to the public in 1976. Many items of clothing, documents, furniture, utensils and tools that were a part of the everyday life of members of the old community were concentrated and put on display – even though many of the residents were unable to afford most of these items, as most of the Jewish residents in the Old City were extremely poor.
A room dating from the Ottoman era, with a richly embroidered divan and copper utensils. A room from the mid-nineteenth century – exhibiting period furniture, inscriptions and amulets to protect newly born infants and their mother. A room from the British Mandate period – the living room of a wealthy family using a new and unique implement to light their home – an electric lamp.
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