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Motza, First Agricultural Colony In Modern Israel

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Named after one of the cities that Joshua allotted to the tribe of Benjamin, Motza — with its rustic atmosphere and lovely homes — has evolved into one of the most sought-after communities

Many an eyebrow was raised inside the Old City walls when a revered Iraqi rabbi gave his daughter’s hand in marriage to the son of Polish immigrants. After all, weddings between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews were highly uncommon in 19th-century Jerusalem — and these nuptials took place in 1854. But Jerusalemites were shocked for another reason as well: groom Yehoshua Yellin was 13 years old at the time. And his child bride, Sarah Yehuda, was only 12.

The Yellin and Yehuda families were to make history again, only a few years later. Indeed, while Sir Moses Montefiore was building apartments outside the city walls in 1860, the Yellins and Yehudas were busy establishing the first agricultural colony in modern Israel (yes, long before Petah Tikva and Rishon LeZion.)

Both families were well-versed in the Holy Books, and felt passionately about settling the Land of Israel. For this pioneer agricultural venture, they chose the fertile fields of Colonia, an area that the Romans had set up as a community for retired soldiers. The Arabs living in Colonia nearly 2,000 years later had fallen on hard times, and were delighted to sell what the Yellin-Yehuda families called Motza — named for one of the cities that Joshua allotted to the tribe of Benjamin.

Sarah’s brother Shaul and her husband Yehoshua hoped they would be joined by others, and that Motza would become a thriving settlement. Unfortunately, in 1864 Shaul caught a fatal case of pneumonia after walking home to Jerusalem in the pouring rain.

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Read the full article over at The Times of Israel

 

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I feel prompted to write this email to you all and your wonderful company after the tour my daughter and I took with you throughout Israel. From the moment you picked us up, to the time we arrived for our airport departure, I was impressed with the service you delivered. Shmuel is an absolute legend and quite clearly has a real passion for his country and culture and loves to share it with others. His love and knowledge of Israel and the people whom live there is in my mind what made the trip all that it was. Shmuel has left a large impression on me re-igniting a spark inside me that has been slowly smothered by the pressures of living in our fast paced modern society in the United States. During the tour I came to realize the reality of the Bible stories and felt a new connection spiritually. I can’t thank both of you enough for making such a trip so informative to the average person like myself, as I believe it has left me with a new outlook on life and passion to get out there to what is real - our love of Israel, it’s culture and most importantly to have compassion and support for those who care for this great land. Ignorance only comes through a lack of knowledge and people like Aviva and Shmuel makes a big difference. We highly recommend seeing Israel with them, shalom! Yours Gratefully, Christine and Genevieve Ivory





Christine and Genevieve Ivory