Synagogue where Menachem Begin was married receives dedicated Torah scroll

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

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July 5, 2019 17:22
1 minute read.
Synagogue where Menachem Begin was married receives dedicated Torah scroll

Choral synagogue Torah scroll dedication. (photo credit: REPHAEL ISAAK VILENSKIY)

A dedication for a Torah scroll took place at the newly restored Choral synagogue, where former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin was married, in the Ukrainian town of Drohobych on Wednesday.

This is the first Torah scroll the synagogue has had dedicated to its branch since the end of World War II. The ceremony was attended by representative from Jewish communities from all across Ukraine, including Israeli and American representatives as well.

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



“Today’s event marks another important milestone in the revival of Jewish life not only in Drohobych, but all across Ukraine," the Rabbi of the congregation, Yaakov Dov Bleich said during the ceremony. "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.”

The synagogue was originally built in the mid-19th century, and it stood within a community of over 17,000 Jewish people before the Holocaust, about half of the town's population at the time.

Estimates equate that between 1942 and 1943 Nazi soldiers "massacred" between 11,000 and 14,000 of the Jews belonging to that town. Begin was married to his wife Aliza within the synagogue in 1936, just six years before the town was affected by the Holocaust.

The old synagogue held many famous artworks within its walls, some that which are located in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, such as the piece titled "Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur," commissioned by Maurycy "Moshe" Gottlieb.

In the 1990s the building was transferred back to the town's Jewish community, however, not long after the building was looted and set on fire. The restoration project started in 2013, now completed, has brought the synagogue back as close to its originally glory as possible - now complete with the dedicated Torah scroll.



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