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Aharon Chelouche

1840 - 1920.

Aharon Chelouche was an Algerian Sephardic Jew known for his roles as a landowner, jeweler, and money changer in Jaffa's Jewish community. He founded Neve Tzedek, now part of Tel Aviv.

Portrait of Aharon Chelouche, late 19th century. Source: Wikipedia.

Aharon was born in Oran, French Algeria, and his family relocated several times, residing in Haifa, Nablus, and Jerusalem, before eventually settling in Jaffa, where they rose to prominence.

The Chelouche family was also involved in the iron and tile industry, and had good connections with Arab families, as they spoke Arabic.

Aharon Chelouche assisted new immigrants from Russia and Romania in settling in Israel, including the Biluim who arrived in Jaffa in 1882.

By trading gold and silver, he earned enough to acquire land northeast of Jaffa. In 1883, he constructed a house on the newly owned land.

Later, in 1887, with the assistance of Shimon Rokah, a well-established Jew in the Old Yishuv, he played a key role in establishing the Neve Tzedek neighborhood in that same area.

He is credited with founding the first Jewish settlement outside Jaffa, predating the founders of Tel Aviv by more than 20 years.

His second house built in 1887 was one of the largest in the late 19th century and expanded as the family grew. A synagogue was attached to the house.

Aharon prioritized religious education, hiring a rabbi from Beirut (Shlomo Bahbut) to teach in Jaffa. He had a total of seven children and died at age 79 in 1920.

He is buried in the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv, located on a piece of land he purchased in the late 19th century.

His sons, Yosef Eliyahu and Yaakov, played pivotal roles as founders of Ahuzat Bait (the former name of Tel Aviv) in 1909. Yosef Eliyahu, in particular, left a lasting impact on both Neveh Tzedek and Tel Aviv. He was instrumental in constructing the Girls’ School and the Alliance School, which is now known as the Suzanne Dellal Center.

Yosef Eliyahu, along with his other brother Avraham Haim, established two companies supplying construction materials. Their efforts significantly contributed to the construction of the first new buildings in Ahuzat Bait and later Tel Aviv until the late 1920s.

Additionally, his grandson, Moshe Chelouche, briefly served as the third Mayor of Tel Aviv, holding the position for 10 days.


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