World's northernmost JCC opens in Russian Arctic city

The three-story building that was opened Monday took four years to construct and cost nearly $3 million raised from private donors, Anatoly Obermeister, the chairman of the local Jewish community.

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ/JTA
July 2, 2018 13:05
2 minute read.
World's northernmost JCC opens in Russian Arctic city

russian flag 88. (photo credit: )

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The Russian city of Arkhangelsk saw the opening of a synagogue inside what may be the world’s northernmost Jewish community center.

The three-story building that was opened Monday took four years to construct and cost nearly $3 million raised from private donors, Anatoly Obermeister, the chairman of the local Jewish community, told the Regnum news agency. Arkhangelsk, where currently the sun shines 21 hours a day, is located approximately 750 miles north of Moscow at a latitude that is more than three degrees to the north of Anchorage, Alaska.

Separately, construction of what will be Russia’s westernmost synagogue continues in Kaliningrad, an enclave sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland. It is a replica of the Konigsberg Synagogue, a domed mammoth building that was one of Europe’s most impressive Jewish monuments before it was destroyed in the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms. It will reopen on the pogrom’s 80th anniversary in November.

In February, a 23-ton dome was installed on the Konigsberg Synagogue. The following month, workers installed the first of eight stained-glass windows at the synagogue. They are themed after the work of the late Cubist artist Marc Chagall, a Jew who grew up in what is now Belarus. The Konigsberg Synagogue cost several million dollars to build. The philanthropist Vladimir Katsman alone donated $4 million for the project.

Both projects are headed by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, the local branch of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar attended the cornerstone laying ceremony of both.


In Arkhangelsk, the new synagogue is part of the North Star Jewish Cultural Center. The modernist glass and metal building has a main entrance that features a giant Star of David. The building has a concert hall that seats 500. The local Jewish community is made up of about 200 members, according to Regnum. The report said that North Star may be the world’s northernmost JCC — a title that previously was believed to belong to the Jewish museum and community facilities of Trondheim in Norway, located a full degree south of Arkhangelsk’s latitude.

Arkhangelsk, which is a major fishing and logging center, was home to two synagogues before the Communist revolution, but they closed down in the 1920s. The first known Jewish community there was set up by former cantonists — victims of a policy enforced from 1827 to 1856 that forced Jewish communities to give up 10 children older than 12 for every 1,000 Jews.

Last year, authorities in the Siberian city of Tomsk handed over to the local Jewish community a unique wooden synagogue built by former cantonists. The community, led by a Chabad rabbi, is currently preparing to open a large community center next to its main synagogue.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

PEOPLE GAZE at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris
April 19, 2019
Notre Dame will be rebuilt – but most European Jewish sites never will be

By RUTH ELLEN GRUBER