Hundreds of community members, dignitaries, and guests, participated in the historic laying of a special cornerstone on the site of the Grand Choral Synagogue of Samara, established in 1908, towards its historic restoration in the near future. The ceremony was headed by the Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, the region’s Governor Mr. Dmitriy Azarov, the deputy of the State Duma Mr. Alexander Khinshtein, and the city’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Deutch.
On the last day of September and towards the end of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, a special symbolic ceremony was held to celebrate the restoration of Samara’s Grand Choral Synagogue, which was considered one of the ten most beautiful synagogues in the world, before its destruction under the Communist regime.
“Approximately 120 years ago, the city’s Jews built a synagogue,” said Rabbi Lazar during the event, “but it was ruined. Not only its appearance but also the spirituality that was put into it was destroyed by the Communists. Thank G-d, today Jewish life is developing in Samara, and the attitude to Judaism and Jewish values across Russia is positive and supportive, enabling us to reconstruct this historical place of worship.”
“I have no doubt this unique and amazing building will become a center of attraction for people of different nationalities and religions,” said Governor Dmitriy Azarov, who also noted the great assistance businessmen and local residents from all walks of life have pledged towards the restoration.
The historic Synagogue was built in 1908 by the famous architect Zalmen Klainerman and was able to accommodate 1,300 people. In 1923, the Soviet Regime closed the synagogue and turned it into a Cultural Center, and later on, it was used as a bakery. A few years ago, the building was returned to the local Jewish community, which has since then invested many funds and efforts to evacuate the bakery, create the complicated restoration plans and receive the required permits to reconstruct the historical building requiring renovation. The Jewish community hopes that by 2023, towards the Synagogue’s 115 anniversary, the works will be completed and the building will return to its past glory.
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