The relationships, conflicts and collaborations between different groups in the Jewish community in Jerusalem from the latter years of the Ottoman Period and up to 1948, as seen through the lens of cemeteries, are the topic of the doctoral thesis of the archaeologist and tour guide, Yehoshua Lavi. During this 90-minute tour that he will lead at the Sheikh Badr “A” monument and at the Sheikh Badr “B” cemetery, Lavi will describe the complex matter of Jewish burials in pre-State Israel and the events and forces that affected it, including the split up of the burial companies on the Mount of Olives (1856) and the chain of cemeteries that were built in the city after the War of Independence. He will show how burials divided communities or brought them together, who was buried and who was rejected, what additional uses were made of cemeteries, and how different worldviews are reflected in burials.
Lavi will also talk about burial methods (burials of soldiers in wooden caskets was first introduced at the Sheikh Badr cemetery) and share local burial-related anecdotes, such as the IDF soldier who has two gravesites (at two different cemeteries), gravesites of people who were not buried, anonymous gravesites, and why headstones are not a reliable historical source.
Lavi’s research has been conducted under the Department of Land of Israel Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
It is advisable to come equipped with a hat and a folding chair.