For centuries, synagogues have been built in the centers of the city districts, the towns and villages Jews inhabited. Being the hub of Jewish communal life, these structures housed the institutions essential to its existence. Though a unique Warsaw landmark in its own right, the Twarda Street Orthodox Synagogue is primarily a house of prayer for the Jews of Warsaw and Poland, Israel and the world. The synagogue is also the seat of the Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich, who has held the post since 2004.
The sole Warsaw synagogue building to have survived the conflagration of the last world war, the Załman and Rywka Nożyk Synagogue is a unique monument and an important center of Jewish religious, social and cultural life. As every other synagogue, it is a place where Jews gather to pray together, celebrate Shabbatot and other Jewish holidays, perform weddings under the chupah and to introduce their children to the community; boys and girls have their Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies there, marking commencement of their religious lives as adults, taking responsibility for fulfilling mitzvot. The Synagogue also hosts communal prayers at times of extraordinary developments or times of peril, and at important anniversaries.
The Nożyk Synagogue is the center of Jewish social life. It houses the Jewish Religious Community of Warsaw, the moral and legal heir of the pre-war Jewish communities. The synagogue is also a center of Jewish culture; it hosts exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances and lectures. It is a place to visit for all those interested in the history of the sacred building and in the present day life of Warsaw Jews.
Rabbis of the Nożyk Orthodox Synagogue:
Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland and Rabbi of Warsaw
“According to Jewish tradition, Abraham pitched his tent in such a way as to provide access to it from all its four sides. This allowed visitors to choose their entryway into his house. The 613 mitzvot or the commandments of Judaism, can be understood as 613 different ways of being Jewish. Our community is open to all of Jewish descent as we seek to provide them with knowledge and experience of what it means to be Jewish. The support for individuals seeking their own way of expressing their faith is our purpose.”
Rabbi Michael Schudrich
Yitzhak Rapoport, Rabbi of the Jewish Religious Community of Warsaw, under the leadership of Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich. He also serves as Rosh Kollel Torah MiTzion in Warsaw.
“My wife and I wish to get to know every member of our Community. I want us all to feel a part of one extended family. Our doors are always open to all, especially those in need of support, advice or assistance.”
Rabbi Yitzhak Rapoport
The Jewish Religious Community operates mikveh facilities for men and women; these are located in the basement of the Nożyk Synagogue (6 Twarda Street). The word mikveh, literally means “a collection.” In a physical sense, the term refers to water collecting naturally, i.e. without the help of human hand, fed by e.g. rainwater, flawing waters of a river or springs, or groundwater wells. In Jewish culture and tradition, the mikveh or ritual immersion bath is of great importance; the Talmudic sages ruled that whenever a Jewish community lacks a mikveh and a synagogue, it is paramount that they build the former first. In practice, the mikveh is used by both men and women. Immersion in it is associated with specific ritual acts. Although these may appear to be the same as bathing, their purposes are different. In the circumstances under which Jewish law dictates the use of a mikveh, the person proceeding to immerse themselves should be physically bathed clean. The mikveh is a ‘spiritual tool,’ thus hygiene considerations do not explain immersion in it. A mikveh is also used for the immersion of newly purchased utensils.
Price list for Community members: PLN 20 for women and men, PLN 10-30 for utensils. Those wishing to use the mikveh, please, call 502 970 962 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The mikveh is available by appointment only, with at least one day’s advance notice.
Ec Chaim is a Progressive and egalitarian synagogue open to members of Warsaw's Jewish community. It hosts Friday and Saturday prayers every Shabbat, along with a dinner and a Saturday lunch. Ec Chaim is open to families with children; it provides a Shabbat nursery during the Saturday prayers, and childcare for those celebrating holidays and other events. Ec Chaim members celebrate Jewish holidays together and socialize during their annual Shabbaton. The chaplaincy services at the Ec Chaim Synagogue have been provided since its inception by Rabbi Stas Wojciechowicz, who is a full-time employee of the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw. The rabbi leads prayers and conducts the Fundamentals of Judaism Course, which lays the foundation for the conversion process of its attendees. Ec Chaim Synagogue has been a member of the European Union for Progressive Judaism since 2021.
“Many streams of Judaism are housed under the roof of the present-day Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw. The tradition speaks of seventy images of Torah, all original and true to the highest degree. Today each and every Community member has full opportunity to choose his or her own Jewish path, depending on their spiritual, cultural and social needs.”
Rabbi Stas Wojciechowicz