Friday, December 28, 2007

The Radar (Migdal) Synagogue

I searched the whole Internet for an in-depth story or a picture of Beit Vegan's Migdal Shul and found none. I am providing my own photo of the building.

The story I pieced together from talking to the locals is that at the British built here one of the first radar stations that had a radar mounted on top of the tower, visible in the picture. The radar must have been the first non-naval radar station for its times, or outside Europe, or in the Middle East.

The Wikipedia's Beit Vegan entry is not so correct ("During the British Mandate, the army built one of its radar stations in Bayit VeGan. A synagogue, Beit Knesset Migdal ("The Tower"), now stands on the spot."), since the tall grey tower is the radar tower.

The shul is a major center for Young Israel, though the crowd seems to have aged. Most minyans nowadays are literally staffed by Charedi, as can be seen on Friday nights at the shul's main synagogue hall. The daily morning 7:25 am minyan is a hodge-podge of locals valuing it for its 30 minute shacharis. Most young Mizruchniks and Kookniks attend shacharit at the Avreichim 2 doors behind the Migdal, where the Shearis Isroel and Litvishe organized derech wins, hands down, everyone over.

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