New Synagogues Slated for Former Soviet Bloc
Perhaps one of the most remarkable results of the end of Communist rule in Europe and the former Soviet Union has been the widespread development of new expressions of Jewish life. While many continue to see these regions as a Jewish graveyard, a growing number of Jewish communities have reestablished themselves, albeit with small numbers. Nonetheless, it still comes as a surprise to see these communities, in addition to petitioning for the return of former Jewish communal property, initiating the construction of new buildings – especially synagogues – for Jewish use.
JTA reports that, in Siberia, 200 Jews were present at the dedication of Krasnoyarsk’s new synagogue. Krasnoyarsk, an industrial city with a population of about one million, has a Jewish community of about 6,000 persons. Completion of the new synagogue marks the first phase in the building of a $1.5 million complex that also includes plans for a school and a Jewish community center. In Uman, a town in the Ukraine and the final resting place of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, construction has begun on a new synagogue. Because of Rabbi Nachman’s grave, Uman’s population swells every year at Rosh Hashanah, when Bratslaver Hasidim flock to celebrate at the resting place of their rebbe. The synagogue, in which they will pray, is designed to accommodate up to 10,000 congregants.
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