Tajikistan moving ahead with demolition of only shul

The mikve and several of the classrooms have already been torn down.

March 1, 2006 04:19
1 minute read.
Tajikistan moving ahead with demolition of only shul

tajikistan shul 298 88. (photo credit: Jewish Agency)


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


Despite pleas from the Jewish community and international organizations, the Tajikistan government has started to destroy the country's only synagogue. The mikve and several of the classrooms have already been torn down, with all the structures due to be demolished by June to make way for a new presidential palace. The World Jewish Congress this week sent a letter to UNESCO in a last-ditch effort to stop the synagogue's destruction. It wrote that the action "will effectively put an end to Jewish life in Tajikistan and will strike a severe blow at the cause of Muslim-Jewish mutual respect and coexistence." UNESCO had written the Tajikistan authorities to halt the construction project when the WJC first contacted the organization in June 2004, labelling the synagogue's destruction "in contradiction with existing international standards for the protection of cultural heritage." Gadi Mgomezulu, director of UNESCO's cultural heritage division, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday that that message would be repeated in a second appeal to the Tajikistan authorities in the near future. Mgomezulu said the UN agency would be "following up with them very closely on the issue," though he noted that his office had never received a reply from the Tajikistan government. The synagogue, located in the capital of Dushanbe, is more than 100 years old and serves a couple of hundred Jews, more than half of the country's Jewish population. The city has offered alternate sites at the edges of the city but won't provide compensation for the buildings. "The Jewish community in Dushanbe is very small and very old. [They are] very, very poor and therefore they don't have any ability to invest money and build a new synagogue," according to a Jewish Agency official who serves the community. In addition to being a house of prayer and serving other Jewish ritual and study purposes, he said the complex was "the center of the community," a place for members to meet and spend time. "They feel that they won't have any way to live a Jewish life," he added.

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

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery