NAME: Or-Yazdi, Binyamin


DATE OF BIRTH: 7 February, 1932

DATE OF DEATH: 22 December, 1992

Binyamin Or was born on February 7th, 1932 in the Bukharim quarter of Jerusalem to a family of eight children. His father, Rabbi Yosef Yazdi, was a smart Torah scholar and owner of a grocery in Meah Shearim neighborhood. Binyamin assisted his father in the store and learned from him the values of giving and caring for others anonymously. Binyamin studied at Bnei Zion Talmud Torah in the Bukharim quarter where he lived.

In 1947, when he was 15 years old, from of love of the land and a great sense of Zionism, he joined the Lehi, his nickname was ‘Menachem’. He was a disciplined and loyal soldier and fulfilled his duties with joy and faith in the Creator and in the operations success. He did not hesitate to risk his life and hung propaganda posters against the British government, delivered communications in various locations around the city, even during curfews and was involved to disseminating information.

As he grew older and more devoted to the cause, he advanced and participated in more dangerous operations, engaged in intelligence and tracked suspicious persons. Binyamin was a humble and modest man who did not share much about his activities but is known to have guarded a captured German spy.

During the War of Independence, he moved with his family from the house on the border in the Bukharim quarter to a basement in Geula neighborhood, which had one room and a kitchenette which served five families during hard times, thus they endured the siege of Jerusalem.

Binyamin enlisted in the IDF at the age of eighteen, was a combat fighter and participated in battles during the War of Independence. He was then a tinsmith at Meah Shearim in Jerusalem and specialized in making tin water boilers.

In 1953, he married Sarah (nee Gul) and started a family of four in Jerusalem, his beloved hometown. He worked in the Stone and Lime factory – from his point of view he began to build the Land of Israel, so he persisted in the work despite the physical difficulties and injuries to his hands as a result of the lime.

As head of the family, Binyamin did not hesitate for a moment to join the Six Day War to liberate all of Jerusalem, even though his wife was about to give birth to their youngest child. His joy at the liberation of Jerusalem was great, and as a beloved man with a pleasant temperament, his friends from the Old City who knew him when he worked for his father during the Mandate were happy to meet him because they could not meet due to the fact that the Old City was not considered part of Israel from the time of the War of Independence until the Six Day War.

Binyamin later became a construction contractor and the first building he built was in the Katamon neighborhood. He built many buildings in Jerusalem:

  • In Beit ve Gan neighborhood – on streets: Hapisga, Rabbi Frank, Uziel, Beit veGan.
  • In Gush 80 neighborhood – on Pnina Street.
  • In Geula neighborhood – on streets: Hosha, Nahum.
  • In Beit HaKerem neighborhood.
  • In Talpiot, at 15 Tzarat Street, the candy factory that became his business.

Binyamin’s buildings were known for their high quality – the stones were red Jerusalem stones that were considered expensive and good stones, the foundations of the buildings were strong and good, and when he built the building at 15 Tzarat Street, he made it out of reinforced concrete so that no war could harm it. Binyamin was known among the building engineers as a smart person and he would offer them solutions and offer them ways to arrange the building so that every space is best utilized.

Integration into society was Binyamin’s main priority, and therefore as a contractor, he employed Holocaust survivors and people who were mentally debilitated – he drove them every day to work and took care of all their needs – hats, special clothes and food. Binyamin treated all his employees with humanity and compassion because he understood the hardships of their lives and the difficulties of manual construction. Binyamin joined the work himself, and in particular casting. After the construction of the building ended, Binyamin would organize a gracious and luxurious meal in order to thank the Creator for the right to build in Jerusalem, the Holy City, and the feeling of holiday engulfed him.

He then established the Revel Candy Factory where sweets were made that are still remembered today. Binyamin also made sure to employ people with special needs and holocaust survivors and take care of their needs. The head cook he employed was a Holocaust survivor named Ya’akov Eisenberg who lived in Tel Aviv, and Binyamin drove him himself and on his own initiative every day to the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem to make the journey easier for Ya’akov.

Binyamin was a kind man who helped others, brought peace, and loved the Land of Israel in the most natural and pure way. Binyamin died on December 22nd, 1992, and is buried in the Sanhedria Cemetery in Jerusalem.