About Us

Shul History

Our Kehilah

The first communal tefilah of Kehilat Nitzanim was on Erev Yom Ha’atzmaut 5748 (1988) – 40 years after establishment of the State of Israel. Granted permission by the Nitzanim school, the first and only religious public school for children with disabilities, to use a hallway for services, we were required to set up and put away chairs and other items immediately before and after Shabbat and chagim.

Our Building

As the Kehilah grew it became clear that permanent premises were needed.  The Jerusalem municipality had earmarked land for a synagogue in the neighborhood but it was deemed too far for many of the congregants. It seemed that there was no other available land in the neighborhood, which was beginning to grow rapidly.

A few years earlier, the HaShomer Hatzair organization had established its Jerusalem main branch next to the newly-built home of the Reform movement’s Kol Haneshama Congregation. These two properties were situated very near the Ben Azai complex which together with the Dan complex were the backbone of the fledgling Nitzanim membership. It was decided to approach the HaShomer Hatzair leadership to see whether they would cede part of their property which bordered the Ben Azai complex . The rationale was that the new Nitzanim building would serve as a buffer between the residents of Ben Azai and the many outdoor activities of the HaShomer Hatzair. To their credit, HaShomer Hatzair readily agreed. Now it was a question of convincing the Municipality to allow the land to be used for a synagogue.

We were fortunate that Deputy Mayor Shmuel Meir ob”m entered the picture and became our voice in the Municipality, convincing the Planning Board to allow Kehilat Nitzanim to build. With fewer than 40 membership-paying families, the task of construction was quite daunting. It was clear that fundraising would not be simple. But each family donated to a building fund and this was enough for the initial excavation. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on the 9th of Nisan 5755 (9 April 1995) The foundation stone was laid in the presence of the Rishon L’Tzion and Chief Rabbi Rav Mordechai Eliyahu z”l, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rav Betzalel Zolty z”l, the rav of the shul, Rav Moti Alon, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert and additional dignitaries. It took two more years until sufficient funds were raised and actual construction could begin. The basement level was partially completed when we were given a few months’ notice by the school that their space would no longer be available to us. Kehilat Nitzanim moved into the new basement, that consisted of four concrete walls, with barely a week to spare. Services would continue to be held here for several years while fundraising was undertaken for the next stage of construction. 

By Chanukah 5760 (2000) with a few larger donations from members who were cognizant of the dire need to complete the building, the Kehilah had its finished home on Rechov Asher. The interior fixtures of the main shul as we enjoy them today we completed soon after.