The former synagogue of
I contacted Sergey Kravtsov of the Center for Jewish Art, who has documented the synagogue and prepared a graphic restoration of its former interior design. The “good news” from Sergey is that the wood that has been removed is not original, but was added in 1954, when the synagogue was reconstructed as a cinema. Initially, there was no siding (see photo by Chackelis Lemchenas, 1938). Sergey writes. “there are other severe problems, mainly the danger of fire, since the structure is abandoned, and is being frequently visited by homeless.”
Several projects for the restoration of the synagogue have been floated, but none have been funded. With all the worldwide interest in wooden synagogues, I hope there are donors who might be interested in saving at least this one – probably most important architecturally of those preserved, and one still intact enough to save. But intact for how long? The other wooden synagogues are also in perilous condition. Each Lithuanian winter threatens them with collapse.
I thank Dora, Sergey and Ruth for monitoring the condition of this important building, and for supplying photos.
Sergey’s virtual reconstruction of the synagogue can be seen by entering the CJA website at http://cja.huji.ac.il/ (be patient).