Belarus: Ivenetz Update - Synagogue Adaptive Reuse Begins
In May 2009 I wrote about the need to save the wooden synagogue of Ivanetz, Belarus. At that time local Jewish activists and preservationists were determining the feasibility of the project.
The building was used as a movie theater from the 1950s to the 1980s, and then as a dance club. Ironically and tragically, given the fate of the Ivenetz Jewish community, the last tenant was a private business which produced tombstones. The Belarus Jewish community obtained the building last year, and now the Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus is restoring it for use, probably as a Jewish research center and archive of Ivenets and region, as well as a Holocaust educational center.
I am happy to report that Yuri Dorn, Coordinator of Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus writes that the restoration project of the Ivenetz synagogue is moving forward. This summer a front door has been replaced and exterior protection blinds have been installed on part of the windows of the building. The next phase is to build the fence and to restore the original facade of the building.
Contributions are welcome to continue this work. Even small amounts can make a difference.
For more information about Jewish heritage sites in Belarus or to contribute to this project go to:www.jhrgbelarus.org