“How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!” (Numbers 24:5 KJV)
In the old communities of the Russian Empire, the synagogue was the traditional center of Jewish life. Unfortunately, under communist rule, they suffered the fate of many other places of worship – falling into disrepair or else confiscated by the government and turned into concert halls, factories, warehouses, sports arenas or stables.
Since the fall of the Soviet regime, many have been returned to their communities and are being restored. New ones are being built, and synagogues are once again being returned to their pride of place at the center of Jewish life.
The Federation – in cooperation with local administrations – funds and undertakes the purchase and restoration of these synagogues, and, where necessary, purchases new buildings or else builds new ones. To date, eighty new synagogues have thus been reopened, and twenty more are under construction.
Thanks to the generosity of the Rohr Family Foundation, Federation President Lev Leviev, the Edmund Safra Foundation and local donors and emerging philanthropists, historic synagogues in Moscow, Petersburg, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Poltava, Tomsk and other cities are once again the scene of Jewish renaissance.