|M.Sc Student||Shamir Royi|
|Subject||The Halakhic Space - Halakha as a Planning Method:|
Spatial Design Methods in Recently Transformed
Ultra-Orthodox Neighborhoods in
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisors||Professor Alona Nitzan-Shiftan|
|Dr. Tamar Berger|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The research examines the architectural aspect of “Haredification” - a process in which Haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jews) communities move into secular neighborhoods and change the character and infrastructure to accommodate their living habits and specific needs. The research examines this phenomenon in Shmuel Hanavi, Ma’alot Dafna, and Ramat Eshkol?three adjacent neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem that the Ministry of Housing and Construction built in the 1960s for the general public.
Drawing on archival records, and in-depth interviews with local residents and key representatives of municipal and rabbinic institutions, the research follows the methods and tools used in the process of the transformation. The research suggests that these practices are part of an alternative Haredi planning mechanism that work parallel to, and in interaction with, national and municipal planning, and is in charge of altering the space and its infrastructure for its new inhabitants.
Some of these transforming actions are executed through the municipal establishments, and it is, therefore, difficult to identify a polarized division between bottom-up and top-down in the actions of the Haredi residents. Similarly, the distinction between formal and informal is no longer relevant. Instead, the research identifies three main agents standing behind the transformation of the space: the rabbinic institution, the municipal institution, and the residents. The agencies activate an alternative planning system that draws its design and planning principals from the Halakha - the collective body of Jewish religious laws. This Halakhic system is mediated by the rabbinic institution that plans the space with tools that are parallel to the tools used by the planning system, and both are based on sets of mandatory laws. But while the planning system is statutory and follows legal codes, the Halakhic system is based on an alternative set of rules, and religious dogmas that exercise power over people not as a result of enforcement, but rather, as a communal choice. The inherent difference between these sets of rules creates a convoluted relationship between the two systems - sometimes their protagonists cooperate, at other times they act in parallel fashion, and there are times when they utterly collide.
The research identifies, documents, and analyzes four architectural and planning practices that characterize the Haredification of the neighborhoods: borders, outline scheme design guidelines, infrastructure, and mixed-use. These four examples were chosen because they engage four aspects that one can find in the official planning system?boundaries between urban neighborhoods, statutory guidelines, management of infrastructure, and allocation of land use. By identifying parallel planning tools in the Haredi community, and the way the Rabbinic institution succeeds in combining municipal and Halakhic planning tools to direct the neighborhoods’ transformation, the research reveals, for the first time, the systemic planning mechanism of the Haredi community that goes under the radar of the general secular public.