I think it is very important to preserve the historical character of our cities. The city of Gedera, founded in 1884, is a good example of how it can be done. It is located between Rehovot to the north and Ashdod to the west. HaBiluim (named after the BILU agricultural settlement movement) was the first street in Gedera and is now the main street.
There are many historical sites on this street. Above is the Gedera History Museum. It was Dr. Moshe Mintz’ private home which he donated to the city. Unlike the single modest farmers’ houses with back entrances, it was built in a Neo-Classical style with ornaments and a strikng staircase. After his death it served as a community hall.
Note the balcony – even though the roof is in some need of repair – there is both elegance and human scale. One of my pet peeves in this country is how poorly some balconies (mirpesot) are designed. But I hope to cover that in a future post.
The Sverdlov Shack is the only original shack left out of six that were built by the Biluim (farmers) in 1888. It was lived in by Chana and Yigal Sverdlav who later donated it to Gedera. With 5m x 7 m and no running water – and we think we don’t have enough place for storage? It is now used by the Gedera (Biluim) Museum as an annex.The above belltower (in front of the shack) was used to call important meetings (where?) I love the wrought iron detailing on it.
This synagogue , built in 1912, was the first and largest public building in the area. It is still majestic looking.
Look at the beautiful etched glasswork and the lighting fixtures. Both do justice to this landmark that is still in use today.
My favourite is Shachvitz House: built at the beginning of the 20th century. It housed Rahel and Yakov Hacohen Shachvitz who were Gedera founders. Attached to it is a housing complex that I think is in keeping with the flavour of the original building.
Note the detailing: window shutters, decor under the eaves and the front gate.
There are also buildings that still need some TLC.
The above gift store housed another founder Y.S. Hazanof and his family 1888 (according to the plaque to the left of the photo).
It’s amazing how much restoration has been done in this small city. You only have to walk down this street to see the unique character that it has given this area – even in the 21st century.
All images copyright Judy Weiss. All rights reserved.
Gedera – HaBiluim Street