Spruced-Up 1915 Vladivostok Synagogue Reopens

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the synagogue of Vladivostok in Russia’s far east shortly after its reopening.

Built in 1916, the synagogue, which is located 350 miles west of Russia’s maritime border with Japan and 9o miles from Russia’s land border with North Korea, was confiscated by communist authorities in 1932 and turned into a candy factory. It was returned to the Chabad-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia in 2005 and reopened as the port city’s only Jewish house of worship on Friday, the news site Jewish.ru reported.

Medvedev toured the synagogue shortly after its reopening in a ceremony attended by hundreds of guests. Berel Lazar, a Russian chief rabbi and a leader of the federation, hosted Medvedev at the synagogue and led the opening ceremony, which followed two years of renovations supervised by the local rabbi, Shimon Varakin.

“When the synagogue was returned, it was in a deplorable state,” Lazar said. “Nothing about it showed is was once a house of worship.” Medvedev praised the Jewish community’s commitment to rebuilding itself, the TASS news agency reported.

The opening in Vladivostok follows several synagogue inaugurations this year by the federation in Kaluga, Kazan and Zhukovka. The Russian Jewish Congress also opened a new synagogue this year in Saratov.

Separately, last week work was completed on a state-funded restoration project at Poland’s Tykocin Synagogue, a historic building in the country’s northeast dating back to 1642. The project involved the restoration of furniture at the building, which functions mainly as a museum and which receives tens of thousands of visitors annually.

On Dec. 10, a small synagogue was reopened also in Wroclaw in western Poland. It was established in 1945 in a room inside the local Jewish community’s complex and re-opened at a ceremony that featured the re-introduction of a Torah scroll to its ark.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Spruced-Up 1915 Vladivostok Synagogue Reopens

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close