The Old Yishuv Court immortalizes the Jewish way of life in Palestine before the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880s. Located on the Old City's characteristically narrow and winding Rehov Or Hahayim, between the Jewish and Armenian quarters, the museum was founded by the Jerusalem Foundation. The museum consists of three rooms, each depicting a different era of Old Yishuv existence (the Ottoman Empire, the late nineteenth century and the British Mandate) in the Old City. Two of the rooms recreate domestic life, one furnished in Ashkenazi fashion and the other in Sephardi. An extensive collection of furniture and household utensils (among them irons heated by burning coals beneath their lids) and the cistern in the courtyard which collected rain water in the winter, shed light on the primitive conditions experienced by residents of the Yishuv. The museum also focuses on crafts practiced in the Yishuv, paying tribute to the well-known enterprises Berman Bakeries and Efrat Wines, both of which started out as small family-run businesses in the Old City. An exhibition providing insight into the religious life of residents, who tended to be strictly Orthodox, is in the museum courtyard, which originally accommodated a yeshiva headed by Rabbi Hayim Ben Attar. Rabbi ben Attar, a Moroccan who immigrated to Palestine in 1742, wrote the scholarly work Or Hahayim, after which the street of the museum is named. Many Sephardi students studied in his yeshiva until the end of the 19th century. The yard is also known as the traditional birthplace of Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Ari), one of the most important Kabbalists of the period.

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