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Literally, distribution. A system for the support of Jews in Palestine with funds raised abroad. The tradition of subsidizing Palestinian Jews goes back to Talmudic times when higher institutions of Jewish learning received such support. Systematic halukah began in 1600, when fairly large numbers of Jews settled in the Holy Cities of Jerusalem, Safed, Hebron, and Tiberias to pray for the coming of the Messiah. Lacking means of support, they sent messengers, or meshulahim, to raise money in the Diaspora. During the 19th century halukah contributions came from the entire Jewish world. When the Zionist movement replaced Messianic longings with the ideal of self-help, halukah fell into disrepute. It still exists, but its scope has been reduced to a minimum.

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