When the Belfast Hebrew Congregation commissioned its new synagogue in 1964, it chose a circular building held up by concrete beams marked out in the shape of a Star of David. Tall, narrow windows and triangular peepholes allowed shafts of lights to penetrate the space. Today, a thin wall cuts across the center of the synagogue, slicing the Star of David into two parts. As the city’s Jewish population declined to 80, down from a peak of 2,000 in the 1940s, the synagogue’s committee decided that the space had become too large for the dwindling congregation, so it separated the building into a smaller worship space and a community area for more informal gatherings.
On March 10, Skopje, the capital of Macedonia — home to more than a quarter of the country’s population of 2 million — gained a new cultural artifact: the Holocaust Memorial Center of the Jews from Macedonia. A landmark in the middle of the city, the center remembers Jews lost in the Holocaust from Macedonia and from neighboring Southeast European nations.