Out of pure spite, the Jordanian Arab legion blew up the two tallest synagogues in Jerusalem in 1948. One was already rebuilt, with restoration of the second launched this week.

Jerusalem’s Tiferet Israel synagogue was one of the most regal houses of worship in the Old City, until the Jordanians leveled it to the ground in the process of expelling the Jews from the city during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence.

Seventy years later, a group of activists, politicians and philanthropists came together to rebuild the synagogue, which sits just meters from the Western Wall.

Ninety-year-old Simcha Mandelbaum, who prayed in the synagogue as a boy, was on hand to launch the reconstruction project this week. He teared up as he recited a traditional prayer while the corner stone was laid.