Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Dutch Jews Protest Turkish Developer’s Plan To Turn Synagogue Into Eatery

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The Jewish community of Deventer in the east of the Netherlands is protesting a Dutch-Turkish entrepreneur’s plan for transforming their former synagogue into a restaurant.

Tom Fürstenberg, chairman of Deventer’s Beth Shoshanna Jewish community, made up of several dozen members, told the regional newspaper De Stentor that it would be “scandalous” if the municipality approves developer Ayhan Sahin’s plans for the building that he bought in January, the daily newspaper reported Saturday.

In recent years, the small Jewish community of Deventer could no longer afford to maintain the large building, which is a listed national monument. It was sold to a local church, which resold it to Sahin for an undisclosed amount, the report said.

Fürstenberg had said in the past that he hopes that whoever buys the former synagogue will restore it so that it continues to function as a Jewish institution. Across the Netherlands, nonprofit organizations and municipalities have taken over synagogues without communities, turning them sometimes into popular museums, as in Groningen.

But Sahin recently submitted a plan to municipal authorities to transform the synagogue into an eatery – a plan that would be end of Jewish institutional life in Deventer, Fürstenberg said. He also said the plan ran contrary to agreements made with Sahin. The Jewish community had hoped to continue to be able to use the establishment for religious purposes under new ownership.

Sahin told De Stentor said his plan to turn the synagogue into a restaurant “is very interesting and one that would appeal to a lot of people from outside” Deventer. He also said he regrets hearing the local Jewish community would be without a space to worship if the plan is approved, but added he is “not the Salvation Army.” He also said he would be willing to allow the community to keep using the building if they pay “full rent” for it.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.