Photos by: Alexey Minin
A massive 23.5-ton dome was planted on the new Kaliningrad synagogue in Russia last week, a milestone in the building’s construction process that is being carried out by the city’s Jewish community over the past few years.
Kaliningrad, Russia is the former city of Koenigsberg, Germany and the new synagogue will finally fill the void left when its predecessor, the Koenigsberg synagogue, one of the largest and most magnificent in pre-war Europe, was destroyed and burned by the Nazis during the Night of the Broken Glass ( Kristallnacht) in 1938.
Only five years ago the city’s Jewish community finally secured a permit to rebuild the synagogue at its original location and construction is now in full swing. The new building will keep its the historical pre-war design and style, but is set to be 10 meters shorter than the original.
“We hope the new synagogue will truly capture its Hebrew meaning – a house of gathering, where everyone can find a place and purpose,” said the city’s Rabbi David Shvedik at the dome’s installment.
Construction plans also include rebuilding the city’s historical Jewish quoter that is set to include a Holocaust memorial, and various community institutions such as a school, kindergarten, community center, shops and restaurants.
The project is being carried out by the locally organized Synagogue Construction fund, headed philanthropist Mr. Vladimir Katzman, with the support of many individual donors. The dome was sponsored by Mr. Igor Rabinovich, the window frescos are sponsored by Mr. Boris Pechersky, and the Tabernacle by Mr. Leonid Plitman.
The new synagogue is planned to open in November, on the Konigsberg synagogue’s 80th commemoration anniversary.