Russian city returns shul closed by communists to local Jewish community

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Russian city returns shul closed by communists to local Jewish community

Syzran's shul, which was built in 1910 and closed down 20 years later, was returned last week

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 Municipal authorities in the Russian city of Syzran returned to the local Jewish community a synagogue that communists shut down almost 90 years ago.

The synagogue of Syzran, which was built in 1910 and closed down 20 years later, was returned last week to the small Jewish community of that city, located in the Volga region at the foot of the Ural Mountains, the SyzranSmall website reported.

Syzran’s small Jewish community of about 150 members requested the synagogue be returned to them in 1943, under the antisemitic policies of Joseph Stalin. Their request was denied and the synagogue, which became a cultural club, has not been used as a Jewish house of worship since.

Mayor Nikolay Lyadin’s decision means that within the next two years, the synagogue’s small building of about 1,500 square feet, which is recognised as a monument for preservation, will be rededicated and will receive a Torah scroll.

Many Jews settled in the Volga area after the 1950s because universities there did not discriminate against Jewish students who were not admitted to higher education institutions further west.

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