Elderly Jewish? man, seated under tree (1898) 311.
(photo credit: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)
Which Jew is Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Yemenite, Chassidic, anti-Chassidic misnaged,
anti-Zionist Satmar, etc.? Sometimes it's difficult for veteran Jerusalemites to
tell today. Imagine how difficult it was for the Christian photographers of the
American Colony photographic department 100 years ago. Usually, they got it
correct, but not always.
The photographers clearly enjoyed taking pictures of the picturesque and exotic
Yemenite community that arrived in Jerusalem in the 1880s. The elderly, bearded
pious Jewish rabbis were also a favorite subject.
Note the American Colony's original captions.
From all the photographs one conclusion is certain and elementary: The
Jews -- all sorts of Jews --were a part of the Jerusalem landscape 100
years ago and even 150 years ago when photography was in its infancy.
The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000
photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian
utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers
returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of
Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to
Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the
building of Tel Aviv.
More photos can be viewed at http://www.israeldailypicture.com
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