Meah Sheʿarim

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a section of jerusalem established in 1874 as an orthodox quarter outside the old city.

Inhabited almost exclusively by ultra-Orthodox Jews, Meah Sheʿarim is one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Jerusalem and is characterized by a very high birth rate. In 1995 its population numbered 29,214. It houses hundreds of yeshivas and synagogues, and is also the center of Orthodox anti-Zionist ideology and activity. The neighborhood is highly picturesque, and upon crossing into it, one senses having entered the domain of an almost autonomous ethnoreligious culture. Many of its inhabitants view the neighborhood as their own turf, and some view all strangers with suspicion. Its streets are closed to vehicular traffic on the Jewish Sabbath; breaches of that closure are occasionally met with violent reactions. Women are enjoined to dress modestly.

see also jerusalem.


Heilman, Samuel C. Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry. New York: Schocken, 1992.

chaim i. waxman