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Christadelphians and the Jewish Return, a 140 Year Anniversary!
The 140th anniversary of Yesod Ha’Malah Israel!
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June 18, 2023 - Audio, 6.00 MIN
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Dubrovin Farmstead, which houses the Yesod Ha'malah museum.

2024 marks 140 years since the foundation of Yesod Ha’malah, the first modern Jewish settlement in the Huleh valley, in northern Israel in 1884! The community is currently preparing to celebrate this anniversary. The name for the community was aptly taken from Ezra 7:9 where is tells the story of the return from the Babylon exile saying: “For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. ”. Yesod Ha’malah, is the “beginning” or “foundation” of going up. Today the story of Yesod Ha’malah is told at the Dubrovin Farmstead museum, just outside of the community. Christadelphians donated crucial funds at the very beginning to help the fledging community. References to Yesod Ha’malah can be found in the 1885 Christadelphian magazines.

David Billington donating a copy of the original Christadelphian magazines from 1885-6,
to Daniela, the manager at Dubrovin Farmstead museum.

The editor of the Christadelphian magazine at the time, Robert Roberts, enthusiastically supported the return of the Jewish people, which to all Christadelphians at the time, was the beginning of an amazing and expected fulfillment of prophecy. Even though it was in its very infancy, Christadelphians were fully engaged. Robert Roberts worked through a man called Lawrence Oliphant, in supporting the Jewish people. Pogroms in Russia starting in 1881 kick started a movement for a return of Jews to the land of Israel, at that time part of the Ottoman Empire. Lawrence Oliphant was engaged in helping those Jews suffering from the pogroms and money from the Christadelphians was given to him to help the "colonization of Palestine” (May 1, 1882 Christadelphian).

In the February 1885 Christadelphian there is a mention of the community of Yesod Ha’malah (although quite mispelled, but clearly Yesod Ha’malah), in a letter from Lawrence Oliphant to Robert Roberts. In the letter Oliphant talks about a recently-established colony, which was struggling and in a “distressing condition”.  At that time the community numbered 12 families, or 36 persons, who were all living in what had been a storehouse in one room! Oliphant had given them 45 pounds from the Christadelphians to help them through their first year, when their own crops were still in infancy. 45 GBP in 1885 would be equivalent to 7353 GBP today. There was also a donation of clothing. This is quite a sum of money to be raised by a small and not at all wealthy community at the time.

One of the current displays at the museum, contains a number of pleas for help from the community in 1884, around the time the Christadelphians made their donation.

The plaque in front of the Gidoltar house in Yesod Ha'Malah which tells about
the Gidoltar family. This family is most likely in the list of name in the Christadelphian.

In the May, 1885 Christadelphian magazine, there is letter from Lawrence Oliphant which included a letter of thanks from the community of Yesod Ha’Malah. The letter is signed by 12 names, which would be the 12 familes which founded the community. The founders were from a city called “Meziroty” near Warsaw, Poland. One of the names is Joseph Gideterman. Some of the houses in Yesod Ha’malah have plaques telling whose house it was. I found one which was the family home of  the “Gidoltar” family, from Mezrich in Poland, Russia — probably the Joseph Gideterman mentioned in the letter in the Christadelphian! They made aliyah in 1883, were a family of 12 and were one of the first seven families to found Yesod Ha’malah. In 1887 they started building their first houses from mud and straw brick. The sign says that today, the Gidoltar farm is divided among the grandchildren.

A display panel at the museum lists the seven founding family names,
virtually all of them can be found in the list of signatories of the letter in the Christadelphian.

A display panel in the museum on the beginning of the community contains the names of the founding families. Virtually all of them can be found in the signatories of the letter in the Christadelphian on March 1, 1885.

Before a recent visit to Israel in April, I acquired a bound volume of the original Christadelphian magazines from 1885 and 1886 from the Christadelphian office and was able to donate it to the Yesod Ha’Malah museum at Dubrovin Farmstead, to the manager Daniela. The museum manager has since informed me that they are now taking information from the magazines for their 140 anniversary. Hopefully the magazine will end up in the museum.

It’s a fascinating visit to a museum which is connected to the Christadelphian community in such a special way. So if you have the opportunity to visit Israel, be sure to visit the museum at Yesod Ha’malah, see the fulfillment of Bible Prophecy in the return of the Jewish people and remember how the Christadelphian community was so engaged and a supporting part, used by God, which made that community possible!

This has been David Billington with you this week. Thanks for listening and come back again next week, to

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