Meet the Ottoman Kavass Guards, Protectors of the Chief Rabbi

With the rise in status of foreign and non-Muslim dignitaries in the Ottoman Empire in the mid-19th century, the Ottomans assigned special bodyguards to protect diplomatic consuls, Christian patriarchs, as well as the chief rabbis of Jewish communities throughout the empire. The church patriarchs continue to use these bodyguards to this day, but what happened to the kavass guards that were assigned to the Jews? And what does all this have to do with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef?

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This Was the Actual First Zionist Congress

We are often told that “the Jewish state was founded in Basel”, the city where the first Zionist Congress convened. However, 15 years earlier, Jews gathered in the city of Focşani, in Romania, to promote the settlement of the Land of Israel. Israel Gilad, a member of the First Aliyah Association and great grandson of the founders of Rosh Pinna and Zikhron Ya’akov, would like to remind our readers of those who came before Herzl…

Jews in Keffiyehs? – The Headdress That Became a Symbol

Nowadays, people identify the keffiyeh as the unequivocal symbol of the Palestinian national movement. However, going back a few decades, we find documentation of senior members of the Zionist movement wearing the traditional headdress as well as members of the Palmach and even soldiers in the IDF. What changed along the way?

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The Yemenite Jews Who Arrived in the Holy Land in 1881

Shortly before what is known as “The First Aliyah”, a group of Jews from Yemen arrived in the Land of Israel. Several dozen Yemenite families had embarked on a long and arduous journey to settle in Jerusalem. Once there, they encountered hostility, arrogance, and deprivation on the part of their fellow Jews. Where did they turn and who came to their aid?

From Russian Villagers to Galilean Farmers: The Story of the Dubrovins

Yoav Dubrovin, a farmer from Russia, immigrated to Ottoman Palestine with his family in the early 20th century | The Dubrovins were among a group of Russian converts to Judaism who settled in the Land of Israel, in hopes of leading a Jewish life | Eighty years later, the family farm is now a museum and visitor’s center commemorating the lives of the area’s early pioneers