the Jerusalem of…

What places have been called

  • Lit­tle Jerusalem”
  • The Jerusalem of…”

…and based on what criteria?

  • Did the local pop­u­la­tion des­ig­nate their place as such?
  • Did Jews from else­where iden­ti­fy the loca­tion in that man­ner?
a partial list accumulated to date (October 10, 2010)

In the eyes of the Jer­ban Jews, their island with­in an island (more than 80,000 Muslims—Ibadis, Malikis, Hanafis—live var­i­ous­ly around them) is a sort of dis­po­ra Holy Land, “the antecham­ber,” as they put it, “of Jerusalem.” The main syn­a­gogue, called “The Mar­velous,” and long a major pil­grim­age site for North African Jews, is con­sid­ered to date from the destruc­tion of the first Tem­ple in 586 BC.”
Clif­ford Geertz, “The Ulti­mate Ghet­to” a review of The Last Arab Jews: The Com­mu­ni­ties of Jer­ba, Tunisia, by Abra­ham L. Udovitch and Lucette Valen­si, Hard­wood Aca­d­e­m­ic Pub­lish­ers; in The New York Review of Books, Feb­ru­ary 28, 1985, p. 14. (No page ref­er­ence to Udovitch and Valen­si)
[empha­sis mine]

Teaneck, New Jersey

Tea­neck is known as the Jerusalem of New Jer­sey (?) ca. 1988.
Heard men­tioned in town by Mark Hurvitz.

Vilna / Vilnius

Jerusalem of Lithua­nia, Illus­trat­ed and Doc­u­ment­ed. Col­lect­ed and arranged by Leyz­er Ran. 3 vol­umes, New York, 1974. (Vols. I and II 14,1÷2 inch­es by 11% inch­es, hard bound; vol. III paper­back: 11 inch­es by 8,1÷2 inch­es; Library of Con­gress Cat­a­log Num­ber 73- 90918). Avail­able from: Vil­no in Pic­tures, Inc., 34–40 93rd Street, Jack­son Heights, NY 11372.


Moises Ville, Argentina
The Jew­ish Month­ly, Jan­u­ary 1991.
Waco, Texas

… “some­times known as Jerusalem on the Bra­zos Riv­er.” New York Times 3/2/93 page A8.

Woodville, Mississippi

Jews in Ear­ly Mis­sis­sip­pi, Leo & Eve­lyn Turitz, quot­ed in Evens, Eli N, The Lone­ly Days were Sun­days, page 59.

Banja Luka (Bosnia)

Mir­ka Mujadz­ic Bosn­ian Par­lia­men­tar­i­an: “Ban­ja Luka is our Jerusalem.” New York Times, Octo­ber 2, 1994.

Alliance, New Jersey

In this coun­try, Ore­gon had its New Odessa (foiled by ide­o­log­i­cal rifts), Michi­gan its Pales­tine com­mu­ni­ty (near Bad Axe), Kansas its Beer­she­ba, and New Jersey’s Alliance was dubbed New Jerusalem by 1882.”
Joseph Bran­des, Fair Lawn, N. J. Let­ter, May 2, 1996 New York Times May 7, 1996

Romeu, Portugal

As report­ed by Ina­cio Stein­hardt:

In one of my trips to the Mar­ra­no belt to the north of Por­tu­gal, I found a lit­tle vil­lage, in the province of Tras-os-Montes, by the name of JERUSALEM DO ROMEU. I even had a pic­ture of me tak­en near the sign with that name.
ROMEU is a larg­er vil­lage up-hill with an inter­est­ing local muse­um. There was an hand­writ­ten book where, among oth­er things there was a phrase in Hebrew, obvi­ous­ly copied by some­body who did not under­stand the let­ters.

JERUSALEM DO ROMEU is locat­ed down­hill on the road and is real­ly only a few hous­es. It is not men­tioned in the maps. I found out that, in spite of the fact that many vil­lages and town­lets have a large pop­u­la­tion of mar­ra­nos, the name of Jerusalem was giv­en in con­nec­tion with a catholic image of NOSSA SENHORA DE JERUSALEM (Our Lady of Jerusalem).

Portobello, Dublin, Ireland

Leopold Bloom wan­dered through the area of Dublin affec­tion­ate­ly known as “Lit­tle Jerusalem” with its Jew­ish-owned shops and syn­a­gogues that day of June 16, 1904, leav­ing, through Joyce’s per­va­sive sym­bol­ism, an exhaus­tive cri­tique of con­tem­po­rary cul­ture.
Irish Echo
Dublin muse­um cel­e­brates Jew­ish pres­ence in Ire­land
Report­ed by Suzan­na Hicks

From Jim Mon­aghan
Sub­ject: Death of Span­ish Civ­il War vet­er­an Mau­rice Lev­i­tas
Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 17, 2001
Mau­rice Lev­i­tas dies in Lon­don
By Padraig Yeates
Mau­rice Lev­i­tas (Moishe ben Hil­lel), one of the last sur­viv­ing Irish vet­er­ans of the Span­ish Civ­il War, died on Wednes­day in Lon­don.
There are now only three Irish sur­vivors from the Inter­na­tion­al Brigade, which fought in Spain between 1936 and 1939 in defence of the Span­ish repub­lic.
They are Mr Michael O’Ri­or­dan, for­mer gen­er­al sec­re­tary of the Com­mu­nist Par­ty of Ire­land, and Mr Eugene Down­ing, who wrote the only mem­oir in Irish of the war. Both men live in Dublin. Mr Bob Doyle, a for­mer mem­ber of the Com­mu­nist Par­ty and union activist, now lives in Lon­don.
Mr Lev­i­tas was born on Feb­ru­ary 1st, 1917, in Por­to­bel­lo, Dublin, then known as “Lit­tle Jerusalem”.
He was the son of Har­ry Lev­i­tas from Lithua­nia and Leah Rick from Latvia. His father was active in the Inter­na­tion­al Tai­lors’, Machin­ists’ and Pressers’ Trade Union, then known in Dublin as “the Jew­ish Union”. The fam­i­ly emi­grat­ed to Britain in 1927 where Mau­rice became a plumber and sub­se­quent­ly a teacher.
A life­long com­mu­nist as well as a trade union­ist, he par­tic­i­pat­ed in the “Bat­tle of Cable Street” in Octo­ber 1936 when the British Union of Fas­cists was pre­vent­ed from march­ing through the Jew­ish neigh­bour­hoods of Lon­don’s East End.
In Decem­ber 1937 he vol­un­teered for the Inter­na­tion­al Brigade. He fought at Teru­el and Bel­chite on the Aragon front before being cap­tured, togeth­er with the Irish repub­li­can Frank Ryan, near the town of Gan­desa in March 1938. He was impris­oned for a year in the con­cen­tra­tion camp of San Pedro de Cardea, before being released as part of a pris­on­er exchange.
The Irish unit of the Inter­na­tion­al Brigade was known as the Con­nol­ly Col­umn and, when a memo­r­i­al to it was unveiled at Dublin’s Lib­er­ty Hall in May 1991, Mau­rice Lev­i­tas read the roll of hon­our of his fall­en com­rades.
He last vis­it­ed his native city in Feb­ru­ary 1997 when, togeth­er with oth­er sur­viv­ing brigade mem­bers, he was accord­ed a civic recep­tion in the Man­sion House by the Lord May­or.
Mau­rice Lev­i­tas is sur­vived by his broth­ers, Max and Sol, his sis­ter, Toby, and his chil­dren, Bill, Diana, Ruth, Dan­ny, Rachel and Ben. The funer­al will take place on Fri­day at Gold­ers Green cre­ma­to­ri­um, Lon­don. Kad­dish will be said by his broth­ers.

The area around Clan­bras­sil Street in which most Irish Jews lived in Dublin up to the 1950s and which is of course vivid­ly described by James Joyce was often referred to as “Lit­tle Jerusalem”. Cor­mac O Gra­da recent­ly pub­lished an inter­est­ing arti­cle on it: Cor­mac O Gra­da, “Lost in Lit­tle Jerusalem: Leopold Bloom and Irish Jew­ry”, Jour­nal of Mod­ern Lit­er­a­ture. Vol­ume 27, Num­ber 4, Sum­mer 2004, pp. 17–26.
See also Ray Rivlin, Shalom Ire­land. A Social His­to­ry of Jews in Mod­ern Ire­land. Dublin 2003.
report­ed by Dr. Maria Diem­ling School of Reli­gions and The­ol­o­gy; Trin­i­ty Col­lege Dublin


There is a very inter­est­ing film “Rhodes For­ev­er” made by Diane Perel­sztejn about the lit­tle know sto­ry of the Jews of Rhodes. It is 49 min­utes in Ladi­no, French, Ital­ian and Greek with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles and is avail­able in film or video. It is the first ever doc­u­men­tary devot­ed to the Jews of Rhodes whose ances­tors found refuge after their expul­sion from Spain in the 15th cen­tu­ry. The com­mu­ni­ty became known as “Chi­ca Yerusha­lay­im-Lit­tle Jerusalem”, num­bered 5,000 at its peak — one third of the pop­u­la­tion of the island — liv­ing pre­dom­i­nant­ly in the Jew­ish Quarter.…What hap­pened to this vibrant com­mu­ni­ty dur­ing the Holo­caust is chron­i­cled in this pro­gram as well as some of the rich cus­toms of Sephardic cul­ture.
Sharon Puck­er Rivo
Nation­al Cen­ter for Jew­ish Film at Bran­deis Uni­ver­si­ty

Toledo, Spain

From Itin­er­ary of the Jer­ri-Ann & Gary Jacobs Inter­na­tion­al Teel Lead­er­ship Insti­tute (july 2000):
Explore Tole­do, the ancient Chris­t­ian cap­i­tal of Spain, also known as the “Jerusalem” of Spain.
Tole­do, the “Sec­ond Jerusalem”
in Frank A Trav­el Guide to Jew­ish Europe” ? edi­tion page 232.

United States of America

Myer Moses, a leader of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Elo­him of Charleston, in a pub­lished lec­ture deliv­ered in 1806 to raise funds for the city’s Hebrew Orphan Soci­ety, described “free and inde­pen­dent” Amer­i­ca as a “sec­ond Jerusalem” and a “promised land.” Quot­ed in Sar­na, Jonathan, Amer­i­can Judaism, pg 51f

Oudtshoorn (or Udtshorn), South Africa

Udt­shorn: Yerusha­lay­im d’Afrike (Oudt­shoorn: the Jerusalem of Afri­ka)
A chron­i­cle of a com­mune of Yid­dish speak­ing ostrich farm­ers who, before styles changed, sup­plied the lucra­tive mar­ket of feath­ers for women’s hats.
Men­tioned in Lan­sky, Aaron. Out­wit­ting His­to­ry, p. 220.

Montreal, Canada

Sub­ject: LOOKING FOR: Judaica schol­ars from Mon­tre­al, Cana­da
Date: May 2nd, 2003
I am work­ing on a project that requires a com­pre­hen­sive list­ing of aca­d­e­mics in all areas of Jew­ish Stud­ies, who are orig­i­nal­ly from Mon­tre­al — the Jerusalem of the North.
Allan Nadler, Depart­ment of Reli­gious Stud­ies, Drew Uni­ver­si­ty, Madi­son, NJ, 07940

Zadnie, Carpatarus (today part of the Ukraine)

My father, the late Haim M. I. Gevaryahu, report­ed in the intro­duc­tion to a paper­back book about his birth place vil­lage called Zad­ni (col­lat­ed and edit­ed by Fai­tel Yoso­vitch, Jerusalem ~1980) in Carpatarus (today part of the Ukraine) as fol­lows:

From 92 of the fam­i­ly heads [in the vil­lage Zad­nie] almost every one knew how to learn Tal­mud inde­pen­dent­ly, and the rest knew how to learn Chu­mash with Rashi, Mish­nay­ot and Agadot. Such a con­cen­tra­tion of [Jewish/Hebraic] knowl­edge was so unusu­al in those days, that the dis­trict rab­bi of the area, Rab­bi Ash­er Zelig Grun­zweig crowned Zad­nie as ‘Lit­tle Jerusalem.”

This is includ­ed in the His­to­ry of the Gevaryahu-Gottes­man Fam­i­ly.
report­ed by Gilad J. Gevaryahu Sat, 10 Dec 2005.

Nehardea, Babylon

Some cities, such as Nehardea—known as the “Jerusalem of Babylon”—were entire­ly Jew­ish.
Eban, Abba, My Peo­ple (new edi­tion), © 1968 Behrman House, Inc. New York. p. 116

Amsterdam, Holland The Netherlands

Lit­tle Jerusalem”
Frank, Ben G., A Trav­el Guide to Jew­ish Europe, 2nd Edi­tion, Pel­i­can Pub­lish­ing Co., Gret­na 1996 p. 295
It was referred to as “The Dutch Jerusalem”
Scheindlin, Ray­mond P., A Short His­to­ry of the Jew­ish Peo­ple, Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, © 1998 p. 160

Pyongyang, North Korea

Though it is dif­fi­cult to rec­og­nize after fifty years of anti-reli­gious pol­i­cy, the present cap­i­tal of North Korea, Pyongyang, was once known as the “Jerusalem of the East” for its con­cen­tra­tion of church­es and the fer­vor of its con­verts.
Writ­ers From the Oth­er Asia
report­ed by Jay

Sarcelles (neighborhood) Paris, France

film 2005 La Petite Jéur­salem
Reli­gion, philosophy,romantic love and sen­su­al desire all vie for the heart and mind of a smart, seri­ous teenage girl in this skill­ful­ly bal­anced debut fea­ture from writer-direc­tor Karin Albou. Set in the sub­ur­ban Paris neigh­bor­hood of Sar­celles, known as ‘Lit­tle Jerusalem’ due to its large Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion, the film focus­es on 18-year-old stu­dent Lau­ra (Fan­ny Valette) as she tries to rec­on­cile all the con­flict­ing influ­ences and feel­ings to which study and expe­ri­ence have intro­duced her. Liv­ing with her extend­ed fam­i­ly — which includes wid­owed moth­er (Sonia Tahar), sis­ter (Elsa Zyl­ber­stein) and broth­er-in-law (Bruno Tode­s­chi­ni) — means she’s unable to escape her Ortho­dox upbring­ing, although her own immer­sion in West­ern phi­los­o­phy has helped her form a strong per­son­al view of the world, to engage con­tra­dic­to­ry dreams and lifestyles, tur­bu­lent inti­mate rela­tion­ships…

Lawrence, New York

With love from the Jerusalem of NY.”
self iden­ti­fied by Rab­bi Paula Jayne Win­nig, Tem­ple Sinai of Long Island, Lawrence, NY 11559

Ilynka, Daghestan

In Frédéric Bren­ner; Dias­po­ra: Home­lands in Exile, New York : Harper­Collins, c2003.

Little Jerusalem, Logan County, Kansas

In Guidebook—Geology and Pale­on­tol­ogy of North­west­ern Kansas.

After cross­ing Chalk Creek, we pass a clus­ter of chalk mon­u­ments known as the Lit­tle Pyra­mids. After turn­ing west and again north, we will see a large area of chalk bad­lands called Lit­tle Jerusalem. This is the largest expo­sure of Nio­brara Chalk in the state.

Pitigliano, Tuscany, Italy

Pit­igliano sits in the south­ern lim­it of the beau­ti­ful Tus­cany “La Pic­co­la Gerusalemme” got his name both from the ancient medieval land­scape of the vil­lage (that remem­bers the beloved Jerusalem) and the wis­dom of this Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty, that once brought to the area many cul­tur­al and social advances (includ­ing the Jew­ish Uni­ver­si­ty of Pit­igliano, which was found­ed in the com­mu­ni­ty’s flour­ish­ing days).

If you know of anoth­er place that belongs on this list, or if you have an expla­na­tion for why one or anoth­er of these loca­tions is so iden­ti­fied with Jerusalem, please con­tact me.

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