Hurva synagogue


In the XVIII century, the construction of the synagogue began, but because of the reduction in donations, the Jewish community did not have enough money to complete the construction to pay off Arab creditors, and they burned the synagogue.

After that, she was in ruins for more than 140 years and became popularly known as “Hurva”, which translates from Hebrew as “ruins”.

In 1857, it was decided to rebuild the central synagogue on the site of the destroyed one, and only by 1864, due to the constant lack of funds, it was restored. The people called it the former name - "Hurva".

During the War of Independence, Israel was destroyed during the fighting.

After the Six Day War of 1967 and the return of the Jewish Quarter to Israeli rule, it was decided to restore the synagogue. A memorial arch was erected in its place in 1977, and in 2000, a plan was approved for the construction of a new synagogue on this site, which was to be an exact copy of the Hurva synagogue of the 19th century.

The new Hurva synagogue was opened on March 15, 2010.

For a long time, it is known as the main Ashkenazi synagogue in Jerusalem.

Photo and description

The Hurva Synagogue is an outstanding Jerusalem monument with a tragic and controversial history. Today it is one of the largest centers of Judaism and a stumbling block in relations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Religious buildings have existed on this site since the time of the First Temple. In the winter of 1700, a preacher Yehuda Hasid arrived in Jerusalem from Poland, accompanied by about 500 Ashkenazis (Jews of Eastern and Central Europe). The community set a goal: to build a large synagogue in the old place. But the project turned out to be too expensive, the community went into debt, as a result, all Ashkenazis were simply expelled from the city.

More than a century later, Rabbi Menachem Mendel from Shklov (present-day Belarus) arrived in Jerusalem with his followers. By reviving the synagogue, the new community sought to demonstrate the return of Ashkenazi to Jerusalem. But the Jews received real construction permission from the Turkish authorities with the support of the great powers only in 1854, the first stone was laid a year later.

Construction was slow, and money was collected throughout Western Europe. Even King of Prussia Frederick William IV, whose name is carved above the main entrance next to the names of other benefactors, contributed.

In 1864, Assad Effendi, the chief architect of the Sultan, completed the work. The synagogue was called the "House of Jacob" - in memory of the banker Jacob (James Mayer) de Rothschild, whose family has always helped the Jewish diasporas. But the people continued to call her Hurva, the “ruin”, in memory of the stones left from the unfinished temple in the 18th century.

A neo-Byzantine-style synagogue was crowned by a large dome with twelve windows. The building has become one of the tallest in Jerusalem. Fifty Torah scrolls were stored in the ark brought from Kherson, the walls were decorated with frescoes. The Hurva was considered the most beautiful synagogue in Jerusalem. But on May 27, 1948, during the battle for the city, Jordanian troops blew up a magnificent building. During the Six Day War of 1967, Israeli paratroopers breaking into the Old City discovered a pile of bricks at the site of the temple.

The idea of ​​reviving the synagogue arose instantly, they only debated what to do: create a copy of the old one or develop a new project? The famous architect Luis Kahn designed the monument synagogue in the form of a magnificent pyramid. But the idea of ​​restoring the historical appearance won.

In 1977, a temporary stone arch traced the sky of Jerusalem - a copy of one of the four that had previously supported the Hurva dome. Reconstruction work led by architect Naum Meltzer began in 2005, and the synagogue was officially opened in 2010. Palestinians considered the reconstruction of the synagogue near the Temple Mount a provocation and protested.

Hurva interiors are carefully restored according to the preserved old photos. Graceful stained-glass windows are in the windows; the walls are decorated with acrylic frescoes. The plot of the largest of them is inspired by Psalm 136: "By the rivers of Babylon, we sat there and cried when we remembered Zion."