Ukraine shul where Menachem Begin was married gets Torah scroll
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Ukraine shul where Menachem Begin was married gets Torah scroll

Leaders of Ukrainian Jewry gathered at the Choral Synagogue in Drohobych to celebrate the introduction of a scroll

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Choral Synagogue in Drohobych, Ukraine. (Wikipedia/V chekhov)
Choral Synagogue in Drohobych, Ukraine. (Wikipedia/V chekhov)

The dedication of a Torah scroll at the restored Choral Synagogue took place last week in the Ukrainian town of Drohobych. Yaakov Dov Bleich, the chief rabbi of Ukraine, dedicated the scroll together with representatives of Jewish communities from across Ukraine, along with local residents and descendants of Jewish families of Drohobych, who came from Israel and the US for the occasion.

The synagogue restoration project, initiated by Felix Vekselberg, took more than seven years to complete and was funded by his son, Viktor Vekselberg.

Rabbi Bleich said: “Today’s event marks another important milestone in the revival of Jewish life not only in Drohobych, but all across Ukraine.

“Viktor Vekselberg was born and raised in Drohobych and, for many years, has supported the Jewish community. I regret that he himself was not able to attend today’s celebration, as he has been banned entry into Ukraine for political reasons. I am sure that, given his great efforts in helping develop Drohobych, he has all the merits to be considered for the title of Honorary Citizen of this town,” Rabbi Bleich added.

The Choral Synagogue was built in the mid-19th century for one of the biggest and most thriving Jewish communities of Galicia.

Drohobych was home to 17,000 Jews before the Holocaust, about half of the town’s population at the time. It is estimated that in 1942 and 1943, Nazis massacred between 11,000 and 14,000 Jews there.

Israel’s sixth prime minister, Menachem Begin, married his wife, Aliza, in the Drohobych synagogue in 1936. One of the guests at their wedding was Ze’ev Jabotinsky, leader of the Revisionist Zionists and mentor to Begin.

After World War II, the synagogue was used as a warehouse for textiles and for salt storage. It was later turned into a furniture store and its annexe was used for food storage. In the 1990s, the building was transferred to the town’s Jewish community, but was looted and set afire. Restoration work began in 2013 through the efforts of Felix Vekselberg, with the financial support of his son, Viktor.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments