Monday, December 18, 2006

Mistranslation of the Day And Other Errors

The award goes to ynetnews, in their article about the neighborhood Meah Shearim:
Mea Shearim (namely, 100 Gates) is actually a living relic of glorious Jewish communities that perished and no longer exist in the lands of their origin.
Well, Meah Shearim can mean 100 gates, but in this case it means a hundredfold. Wikipedia gets it right:
The name was taken from Genesis 26:12[1], as a prayer and blessing that the community would thrive and expand: Isaac sowed in that land, and in that year he reaped "מאה שערים - a hundredfold"; God had blessed him.
This is not the only mistake in the ynetnews article:
Because of the natural growth rate of the neighborhood residents, additional residential neighborhoods were built around it. The region turned ultra-Orthodox without warning in the 1940's, under the influence of Rabbi Sonenfeld, one of the most extreme rabbis at the time, who would not accept Chief Rabbi Cook as his spiritual authority.
Actually, the community was ultra-Orthodox from his its inception. Once again Wikipedia succeeds where ynetnews fails:
Meah Shearim (sometimes Mea Shearim), is one of the oldest neighborhoods of extramural Jerusalem. It was established in 1874 by a company with originally 100 shareholders in order to provide decent housing to the growing "Old Settlement" of the old Jewish Quarter. The original inhabitants were members of the Perushim community, whose parents and grandparents, disciples of the Vilna Gaon, had arrived in Palestine in the early part of the century.
What's more, Rabbi Sonnenfeld passed away in 1932(!), making it very difficult for him to influence the going-ons in the neighborhood during the 1940s:
Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld (1849 - 1932) was the Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi Haredi Jewish community of Jerusalem during the years of the British mandate and co-founder of the Edah HaChareidis. He was originally given the name "Chaim", however, the name "Yosef" was added to him while he experienced an illness.
The Wikipedia entry on Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld also contains the following important information:
Contrary to a number of distorted accounts, Rabbi Sonnenfeld had a warm relationship with and mutual respect for Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, although the two were vigorous opponents in many areas. Indeed, in 1913 the two travelled together to Northern Israel to try to return lapsed Jews to Orthodox Judaism.

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