Thursday, June 11, 2009

Norway: Royal Visit to Oslo Synagogue

Oslo, Norway. Synagogue. Photo: Grzegorz Wysocki

Norway: Royal Visit to Oslo Synagogue
by Samuel D. Gruber

(ISJM) I’ve been keeping track of the visits of presidents and other heads of state to synagogue and Jewish cemeteries. Here is one more for the reports that on Tuesday (June 19, 2009) King Harald V of Norway and his son, Crown Prince Haakon visited the Oslo Jewish community center and synagogue, where they “attended a Torah reading ceremony, listened to songs by the community's cantor and joined the kindergarten's children in song.” This isn’t the first royal visit to the building. After the World War II, King Olav V (then Crown Prince,) attended the reconstruction ceremony.

The Oslo synagogue was founded in 1892, but the present structure dates from 1920. Architectural historian Carol Herselle Krinsky (in
Synagogues of Europe) describes the structure as looking 'like a simple and charming country chapel.' According to the synagogue has a high-arched ceiling bordered by a design like a tallit (prayer shawl), which carries the inscription, 'How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, thy dwelling places, O Israel'. The bimah stands within the arch; the floor is covered with Oriental carpets. Stained-glass windows feature a Magen David design, which on bright days is cast on the walls.

Click here for more on Jewish sites and monuments in Norway.

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