103-year-old Argentina synagogue gets new look

The government spent the equivalent of $210,000 on repairing the previously dilapidated building.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
September 7, 2012 03:00
1 minute read.
The Brener Synagogue in Moisés Ville, Argentina

The Brener Synagogue in Moisés Ville, Argentina 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / GNU Free / FLLL)

 
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A synagogue in Moises Ville – a small town in the Argentine pampas established by Jews at the end of the 19th century – was reopened on Thursday in a festive ceremony.

Argentina’s President Christina Kirchner was said to be among the 300 dignitaries who attended the event at the renewed Jewish house of worship.

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“The rehabilitation of the Brener Synagogue is the product of three years of planning and works that were carried out with the great help of the national authorities,” Osvaldo Angeleti, a local politician, was quoted as saying by La Capital, a newspaper in Argentina.

The government spent the equivalent of $210,000 on repairing the previously dilapidated building.

Pictures show the edifice has a new coat of paint, the broken doors and windows have been fixed and a large Star of David above the entrance that had faded has been repainted.

Moises Ville was founded and funded by Baron Maurice Moshe Hirsch for Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. The first arrivals appeared in 1889 and over the next couple of decades the village built up a host of institutions catering to its predominantly Jewish inhabitants, including a theater, schools and houses of worship.

The Brener synagogue was built in 1909, and was the main synagogue in the community for over 70 years.

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As the 20th century progressed, the majority of the original settlers and their descendants moved to cities like Santa Fe, Rosario and Buenos Aires or became assimilated.

Few of the town’s 3,000 residents today are Jewish, said Angeleti.

“We have four synagogues in Moises Ville: one is closed, another is in regular use, another important one is abandoned and this, the oldest, is now reopened,” the politician said. “Sadly, the state it was in was a result of the notably diminished number of members of the Jewish community, which are less than 10 percent of the population.”

Besides providing local Jews with a second option to hold their prayers, Angeleti hoped the renovated building would bring tourists to the rural town located 616 kilometers northwest of the capital.

“The temple and Museum of Jewish Colonization will become an attraction for visitors,” he said.

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