Romania: More on Piatra Neant Synagogue Restoration
by Samuel D. Gruber
As a follow up to Monday's post about the completed restoration of the 19th century Baal Shem Tov Synagogue in Piatra Neamt, Romania, I post the above photo by esteemed architectural photographer Janos Kalmar (Kalmar photographed many of the synagogues of Central Europe in 1990s - these photos really needed to collated and published as a group).
Also, I have learned that restoration of the synagogue was entirely organized by the Romanian Ministry of Culture, which allocated approximately 300,000 euro of government funds to the project from 19907 through 2009. The work was overseen by Romanian preservation architect Constantza Carp. The project got its start with a modest planning grant from the Jewish Heritage Program of the World Monuments Fund in 2001-2002.
Unfortunately, given the state of the Romanian economy, we are not likely to see considerable spending on Jewish monuments - or perhaps any monuments - in the near future. Still, the situation for many historic and beautiful Romanian synagogues remains severe. Private funds are need for many worthy projects. For many other sites future use is uncertain, so preservation efforts are mostly postponed. In some cases modest spending on building maintenance and security can protect them from more expensive repairs in the future.
I welcome information about individuals, foundations, businesses, government agencies and organizations that would like to help. The International Survey of Jewish Monuments can make introductions to needy projects, or Gruber Heritage Global can provide more detailed and comprehensive planning and funding information.