Synagogue in Lublin

Tuesday, 13 September 2011 12:57

The synagogue was completed in 1930 along with the rest of the complex of the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva. Apart from religious functions, it was used as a lecture hall for the yeshiva, having been able to seat over 200 students. During the Second World War, the building was vandalized by the Nazis, and all of the contents were damaged or dispersed.

After the war, the building of the yeshiva was taken over by the Medical University of Lublin. The room of the synagogue was redecorated and adjusted to needs of the University. The colouring of walls and columns was changed, and the windows located on the Eastern wall were bricked up.

In late 2003, the building was returned to the Jewish Community of Warsaw, which decided to redecorate and reconstruct the synagogue. The restoration commenced in May 2005, following the University's departure from the structure. A rotten ceiling over the prayer room was replaced, and a new parquet floor was laid. Relying in part on pre-War photographs, the original colouring of columns and the windows on the Eastern wall were recreated. Also, the bimah and steps to Ark, which were surrounded by a balustrade, were restored.

However, the Ark could not be recreated at the time. In its place, a wardrobe and 2-metre (7 ft) high chandelier with 16 lights was installed. In the second half of 2007, the kehilla ordered the missing elements of the interior.

Official opening of the synagogue took place on February 11, 2007. As the reconstruction of the interior of the synagogue was funded entirely by the Polish-Jewish Community, it was the first such ceremony in the post-War Poland.

During the ceremony, two replicas of mezuzahs with Polish Eagle were placed- the first one on the front door of Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, and the other one on door of the synagogue. The original mezuzah had been donated during the opening in 1930 by a tzadik from Czortków (now Chortkiv, Ukraine), Israel Friedman. Next, the chief rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich carried in a Sefer Torah, funded on June 17, 2005 by Americans Harley and Marie Lippman, on the occasion of their daughter Juliet's Bat Mitzvah. Originally the Torah was located in Nożyk Synagogue in Warsaw, but on January 22, 2006 it was carried in to the Small Synagogue in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, after which it was returned to Warsaw. The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland donated a gold-plated menorah and a plaque about the extermination of the Jews of Lublin.

There was over 600 guests for the ceremony, including representantives of Polish and foreign Jewish community as well people from university, cultural and religious fields: Michael Schudrich, Piotr Kadlčik, chairman of Lublin branch of the Jewish Community of Warsaw Roman Litman, Israel's ambassador to Poland David Peleg, metropolitan archbishop of Lublin Józef Życiński, president of Lublin Adam Wasilewski, representantives of local government, rabbi Yehiel Kaufman from Borough Park, Brooklyn, Jehuda Widawski, inhabitant of Lublin and other guests.

The synagogue, having an area of 200 square metres (2,153 sq ft) is within the second and third floor levels in the southern wing of the building. The main prayer room has a section for women, which has an entrance at the third floor. A separate staircase leads to the platform. Its based on 8 green, round Corinthian columns, placed on three sides of the room.

An Ark is located on the western wall. In front of it, there is a platform rounded by a balustrade. The platform is preceded by 5 steps. On the left side of the wardrobe a ner tamid and a plaque with an inscription in the Hebrew language are placed. On the right side, another plaque in Hebrew, a gold-plated menorah and a plaque in the English language about the extermination of the Jews of Lublin are placed. An inscription in the English reads:
“     This menorah, symbolizing the reborn State of Israel is a gift to Jewish community in Lublin in memory of 40,000 Lublin Jews killed by Nazi Germans during World War II. On the day synagogue was rededicated.     ”

A square bimah with two entrances is located in the middle of the room, also rounded by a balustrade. Formerly, a 180 kilograme, menorah with the Polish Eagle on the top was located in Synagogue. It was given to the yeshiva by the Jewish kehilla from Przemyśl.

The contents of the interior is a reconstruction based on the pre-War photos.

The only content that may have survived from the pre-war synagogue was an embroidered parochet. For years, it had been kept in the Chewra Nosim Synagogue in Lublin. It is now located in Small Synagogue in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva. Current plans are to return it when the new Ark is completed. The Ark is being built by Sylwia Piechnik. As a pre-War photo of the Ark is black-and-white, it was decided to paint the Ark in green and brown, with some gold-plated elements. The receptacle is going to be well-decorated, with many vegetable elements.

Currently Synagogue is located at 85 Lubartowska Street.

©Wikipedia, Creative Commons