The Jewish community of Kostroma, a historic Russian city, celebrated the 110th birthday of the city’s synagogue last week. The building is the only active wooden synagogue in Europe, its construction completed in 1907.
The occasion was festively celebrated by community members, city administration and residents as well as many guests. “In fact, there were so many people that we had to celebrate the occasion in the city philharmonic hall, as the synagogue simply could not accommodate so many, which is both a little sad and joyful,” said the rabbi of Kostroma Nissan Ruppo.
Among those who sent greetings to Kostroma were the chief rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar and the president of FJC Russia rabbi Alexander Boroda. “A synagogue in the diaspora is more than a place of worship – it’s also a home for the community, and today, thanks to its sponsors and energetic activists, Kostroma’s community is prospering,” rabbi Lazar’s letter said. He also thanked rabbi Ruppo for his longstanding work as the city’s spiritual leader.
Kostroma’s synagogue was confiscated by the Communist regime in the 1930’s, when synagogues were being closed all over the country. It was returned to the city’s remaining Jewish community in 1998, when the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS ( FJC) was actively working to revive Jewish life in the region. “Today we are happy to see that Jewish life in Kostroma and neighboring regions is full of activity, people are coming back to their roots – participate in holiday celebrations, community and learning programs,” noted rabbi Boroda in his greeting letter.