Nachalat Yitzchak: Eighty Year Jubilee: The Streets of the Neighborhood
On the sixteenth of March, 1925, the cornerstone of the first house built in Nachalat Yitzchak was laid. This neighborhood was founded by a group of Jewish Zionists from Lithuania who sought to establish a rural settlement not far from Tel Aviv.
After copious hardships, coping with malaria, financial crisis, security threats and a myriad of other problems, Nachalat Yitzchak expanded and flourished. Ever since the fourth Aliya (immigration to Israel), thousands of Jews, both new and veteran immigrants, have come to settle there; many factories, workshops and offices were established and its rural nature faded away until it became annexed to Tel Aviv and turned into another one of the large, Jewish city's many districts.
Now, while we are celebrating the eightieth anniversary of the founding of Nachalat Yitzchak, its residents will be given a review that will include an explanation of the names that were chosen for the streets of the neighborhood. This is just one of the many activities organized for the commemoration of Nachalat Yitzchak's heritage, initiated by The Nachalat Yitzchak Renart Center of Culture and Heritage.
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When the initiators of the neighborhood met in Kovna (the former Lithuanian capital) after the purchase of the land for its establishment had been arranged, it was decided that the settlement would be called Nachalat Yitzchak, after Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Spector (1817 – 1896). Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan, the revered rabbi, who headed the Rabbinate of Kovna for thirty two years, was considered the most important rabbinical authority of the times and he was granted the status of a kind of “Resh Galutah” (political head of the Jewish community) of the Jews of the Russian Empire – of which Lithuania was then a part of – and of worldwide Jewry in general. He was active in defending the interests of the Jews in various locations, in nurturing the unification of the nation, in encouraging settlement in the Land of Israel, and in the liberating of abandoned wives. One of the books he wrote on Jewish law is called "Nachal Yitzchak", this name is implied in the name of the neighborhood, in the name of its main street and in the name of the Yeshivas that were established in memory of Rabbi Yizchak Elchanan both in Israel and abroad.
Following are explanations about the rest of the streets in the neighborhood:
Igal Alon – Commemorates the memory of General (Res.) Igal Alon (1918 – 1980), one of the Israeli nation's most significant commanders and politicians of the twentieth century. He was born in Kfar Tavor, among those who founded Kibbutz Genosar (See below) and, among others, he was the commander of the Palmach, the commander of the southern front during the War of Independence, a member of the Knesset representing the "Achdut Avoda" and "Labor" parties, a minister and Deputy Prime Minister. The street was previously called "Giborei Israel".
Ben Shemen – Named for the Youth Village and the moshav (cooperative settlement) of the same name located about four kilometers east of Lod. The Youth Village that was founded in 1927, on the same site as an agricultural school that had been active in 1906-1907, came to be one of the most significant institutions of Aliyat HaNoar (youth immigration project). (See in the following). The moshav developed from a settlement that had been established in 1911 under the initiative of Professor Boris Schatz (1867 – 1931) a native of Lithuania, as a settlement for immigrants from Yemen. The source of the name of the settlement is taken from the Book of Isaiah: "A vineyard had my beloved on a rich hilltop, Ben Shemen. (Chapter V: 1).
Binyamini – This street commemorates the memory of Dr. Aharon Binyamini (1886 – 1943), a physician and member of the revisionist movement, who founded the Max Nordau National Doctor’s Association; who was active in improving the Tel Aviv environment and who worked for the benefit of the Jews of Caucasia, the region where he was born.
Bruria – This street is named after Bruria (Second Century A.D.), the daughter of Chanina Ben Tardion – one of the ten killed by the Romans for studying Torah in public– and the wife of Rabbi Meir of the great Tanaiim, one of the leaders of the generation following Bar Kochba, and who was considered, most likely, to be the one known as "Ba'al Ha’Nes" (the miracle maker). Bruria was the only woman whose opinions on Halacha (Jewish religious laws) were accepted by the scholars of her time and she is a model image of virtuosity and intelligence.
Genosar – This is a kibbutz that was established in 1937 in the Genosar Valley, on the northwestern side of Lake Kinneret, which in the days of the Mishna (oral Jewish laws) and the Talmud was called Lake Genosar, or Genosar. On the kibbutz site are The Igal Alon Museum(See above) and the remains of an ancient settlement.
Yosef Zimman – This street is in commemoration of Yosef Zimman (1882 – 1969) a native of Lithuania, a yeshiva student and a business man, who became a prominent figure among the initiators and founders of Nachalat Yitzchak. He served as the Mukhtar (village head) on behalf of the mandatory government and was also the chairman of the neighborhood committee. In addition, he founded the Association of Lithuanian Immigrants in his home, he established the Credit-Gomlin Bank (Mutual Credit) and he was active in the Chevra Kaddisha (Jewish burial society) as well as institutes of charity. Previously the street was called Reach Hasadeh (scent of the field) which reflected the rural nature of the neighborhood up until the sixties.
Chayei Adam – This name commemorates the memory of Rabbi Avraham Ben Yechiel Michal Danzig (1748 – 1820), one of Lithuania’s notable Rabbis and who was related by marriage to the family of "HaGaon M'Vilna" (the genius from Vilna), Rabbi Eliahu Ben Shlomo Zalman (1720 – 1797). Rabbi Danzig encouraged immigration to the Land of Israel and he composed “Tfilah Zakah” which is said on the eve of Yom Kippur, and other books on Jewish law including "Chayay Adam", which deals with laws of “Shulchan Aruch" (the Jewish code of laws).
Chafetz Chayim – This is the name of the first essay written by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Hacohen (1838 – 1933), one of the great Rabbis of Lithuania. The name of the essay that dealt with issues of morality and laws on slander was taken from a verse of Psalms (XXXIV: 13). He who "desireth life" founded a famous yeshiva in the Lithuanian city of Radin – and this is where his second name came from, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Hacohen of Radin. He was one of the founders of "Agudat Yisrael" (the religious political party) and he believed that immigration to the Land of Israel heralds the coming of the Messiah.
Tirat Zvi – This is a kibbutz in the Bet Shean Valley that was founded in 1937 in the framework of the "Tower and Stockade" settlements (overnight settling in Mandatory Palestine), named for Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kalisher (1795 – 1874), a native of Lithuania, who worked towards settling the Land of Israel and who was one of the progenitors of Zionism. The kibbutz heroically withstood the attacks of the Arab forces in 1938 and in the War of Independence. It belongs to the HaPoel HaMizrachi movement the members of which played a role in the expansion and development of the neighborhood.
Yokneam – A moshava (settlement), located between the slopes of the Carmel and the Jezreel Valley, which was established in 1935, near the man-made hill covering the remains of an ancient settlement, which in Biblical times was the location of a city of the same name. In the fifties a ma'abara (transit camp for new immigrants) was established nearby which later developed into the city of Yokneam Ilit.
Yalkut Ha'Roim – This is the name of a collection (yalkut) of sermons and legends named after a plant (Capsella) from the Brassicaceae family that blooms in the winter and whose fruits resemble a shepherd's purse. In the Book of Samuel I (Chapter XVII: 40) King David's pouch is mentioned,: “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip, and his sling was in his hand…" when he went out to fight Goliath the Philistine.
Mozes – Named after Yehuda Mozes (1886 – 1956), the founder and owner of the newspaper "Yediot Achronot", and his son, Noach Mozes (1911 – 1985) who moved the building that housed his newspaper to the outskirts of the neighborhood. Noach Mozes was killed in a car accident very near this location. Their name is commemorated in the western section of the neighborhood's main street – which formerly began with Nachalat Yitzchak Street – and also on the bridge (The Noach Mozes Bridge), which until then was called The Nachalat Yitzchak Bridge.
M'norat Ha'maor – This an anthology (collection) of legends on issues of morality that was compiled by the Sephardic Rabbi Yitzchak Abuhav (from the 14th century) of the family of scholars from Spain and Portugal, who was one of the great preachers, one of the scholars of ethics and one of the great gatherers of the Jewish legend. He believed that the legends are what illuminate the Torah and that they can be used as a guide for proper behavior. He sorted out the legends and categorized them according to seven subjects, allegorical of the seven candle holders of the holy Menorahs. The book which was printed for the first time in Koshta, in the year of …, it was distributed in tens of editions and translated into several languages all over the Jewish Diaspora.
Ma'avar Yabok – Yabok is one of the Jordan river's large streams that runs across the Gilad (today the land of Jordan). The passage is the place that is described in the Book of Genesis (Chapter XXXII: 33) where our forefather, Jacob, battled bravely, was saved and was given the name Israel. With the inspiration of this central event in the history of the nation, Rabbi Aharon Berachiah Ben Moshe of Modena (died in 1639) wrote a book called Ma'avar Yabuk which discusses customs of calling on the sick, death, burial and mourning. It is on this small street that the first pharmacy in the neighborhood was located, and it is close to the path that led to the cemetery.
Nahalal – This was the first workers' moshav that was established in 1921 in the Jezreel Valley, named for the biblical city in the inheritance of the Tribe of Zevulun (Book of Joshua XIX: 15). There is an old agricultural school on the premises. In this context it is only worthwhile to recall the neighborhood's contribution to the development of agriculture in the country.
Simtat Netah – This is the name of a plantation farm that was established in 1952, about five kilometers southwest of Gedera. It should be recalled that in the past, near the narrow passageway and in the neighborhood in general, there were fields, citrus groves and many other orchards.
Ein Zeitim – An abandoned Jewish settlement about three kilometers northeast of Tzfat. It began as a moshava established in 1891 by new immigrants from Lithuania in a place where in the past there had been a Jewish community. The members of the moshava were banished during the First World War. The place was resettled five more times but it was then abandoned.
Aliyat Ha'Noar – This is a street which begins close to the site of the women workers' center, in the Borochov neighborhood, and later on the Borochov Ulpan – who played an important role in the absorption of new immigrants in Israel – and it continues on towards the beginning of the Bitzaron neighborhood; most of the residents who populated the neighborhood upon its establishment were new immigrants. It is no wonder, therefore, that the street was named after the organization of the Zionist movement that focused on saving Jewish children, bringing them to the land of Israel, housing and educating them; in the framework of this movement over 100,000 children and youth were cared for. This project began with the initiative of Recha Freier, in 1932, due to the surging wave of anti-Semitism in Germany, and it became integrated from 1933, headed by Henrietta Szold (1860 – 1945), who the street was previously named after. Earlier on the street was called Avnei Zikaron, a name that has remained for the section of the street that divides between the Tel Aviv and Givatayim sections of the Nachalat Yitzchak cemetery.
Emek Bracha – This road stretches over the place where one of the streams of the Ayalon River once ran. It is named for a place that is mentioned in the Book of Chronicles II (Chapter XX: 26), which according to the popular view relates to a fruitful valley, abundant in water, in the Judean mountains about ten – eleven kilometers northeast of Hebron. Rabbi Avraham, son of Rabbi Shabtai Horowitz (who died in the beginning of the seventeenth century), who was one the heads of the Jewish scholars of Poland in his generation, wrote a book called Emek Habracha which mainly interprets laws, beneficiary blessings, prayers and their customs. His son, Rabbi Yeshayahu (who died in Tiberias in 1630) better known as HaShla HaKadosh (after one of his books) in 1597, published his father's book with the addition of his own readings.
Arvei Nachal – This is a street that began at the Ayalon River and whose banks were covered with trees and water plants, before the Ayalon Thruway was paved and before the Shifmann bridge was erected. Arvei Nachal is another name for the willow tree that grows along the banks of streams and whose branches are one of the four varieties that are blessed on Succoth (the Book of Leviticus XXXIII: 40).
Pe'at Hashulchan – The name of this street commemorates Rabbi Yisrael, son of Rabbi Shmuel Ashkenazi, the Rabbi of Shekelov (1799 – 1839), who was one of the first students of the "Genius from Vilna". He emigrated to Israel in 1810, together with other students of the Gaon, and he dedicated his book, Pat Shulchan, that was published in 1836, to the laws related to the land, especially to the field of working the land.
Pirchei Aviv – This name reminds one of the neighborhood's rural past which was characterized with the splendid and colorful blooming of the fields and the many plants and flowers that grew there.
Pri Megadim – This is the name of a book of interpretation for Shulchan Aruch that draws upon The Song of Solomon (Chapter IV: 13). The book was written by Joseph Ben Meir Teumim (who died in 1792), a native of Galicia, who was a Rabbi in Lebov (Poland/ Ukraine) and in Germany, in other words, in places where many of the neighborhood's elders were born.
Shvil HeChalav – This is the name of a galaxy in which there at least 100 billion stars, including the solar system of the Earth. For our purposes, the name of the street symbolizes the dairy products that were produced in the numerous dairy farms that operated in the neighborhood in the early sixties and the large dairies that were opened there, the first of which was the "Tara" Dairy. Dairy farming was one of the major branches upon which, for many years, the Nachalat Yitzchak founders subsisted as well as a great many of its veterans, and in certain periods – it was almost the exclusive source for the supply of milk and dairy products for Tel Aviv and the surrounding area.
Totzeret Ha'Aretz – A prominent motive and password in the days of the Mandate and also in several stages following the establishment of the state, when consumers were asked to purchase merchandise manufactured locally to encourage the Jewish, and later on Israeli, industry. Nearby this street and in other areas of Nachalat Yitzchak were several factories, among these the prominent Yitzhar factory. Today, in its place, the Tel Aviv Towers have been built.