Latvia: Rezekne Green Synagogue Restoration Update
by Samuel D. Gruber
(ISJM) David Michaelson has provided me with an update and links on the long hoped for/planned restoration of the Green Synagogue of Rezekne, Latvia, a project which he first brought to my attention almost ten years ago. David's great-grandparents were from Rezekne, a town which had the substantial Jewish population of around 20,000 people before 1900. At the time of the Second World War only 10,000 Jews lived there, and now only small number - a few dozen Jews at most - still live there. He and his wife first visited Rezekne in 2003 and were shown the closed and dilapidated (Green Synagogue, built 1845) by Rashel Kuklya, head of the small Jewish community. The building was last used by the Jewish community in the early 1990s.
The restoration of the building will engage students and teachers from Sam Eyde vgs, the Lunznava vocational school, the technical school Vilanu, the Rezekne art school and local artisans in Latgale; organize and strengthen cooperation between regional (latgalske), National (Latvian) and international (Norwegian) craftsmen, teachers, students and authorities; organize workshops for participants to develop meeting and communication models; and rain craftsmen, teachers and students in the restoration of wooden structures.
According to the project website the synagogue was chosen because the wooden construction is similar to that in Norway from the beginning of 18th century (the synagogue was built around 1845), it is not privately owned, and it is the only surviving wooden synagogue in the area.
Here is the Norwegian website describing the project: (Google Translate does a good job with it)