Windows in Kharkiv's ancient Great Synagogue shattered during Russian bombings

While bombing continues across Ukraine, Jews in Kharkiv reinforce doors and windows of the synagogue.

 filling sand bags for Kharkiv Synagogue  (photo credit: Jewish Federation of Ukraine)
filling sand bags for Kharkiv Synagogue
(photo credit: Jewish Federation of Ukraine)

Windows of the main synagogue of Kharkiv were shattered last night, following the impact of a missile fired by the Russian army that exploded in a nearby mall.

More than 100 Jewish refugees were in the basement of the synagogue at the time of the incident.

“In recent days, we have filled the windows on the entrance floor with sandbags,” said Chabad emissary and rabbi of Kharkiv, Moshe Moskowitz. “We fear for the lives of the Jews who moved into the basement of the synagogue, most of them elderly people who cannot leave. Food and medicine are running out, and we are trying to bring more supplies despite the danger on the roads.”

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The rabbi said that he had hired professionals to repair the damage, while at the same time trying to get as many Jews out of the city as possible, with the help of Chabad and the Jewish Federation of Ukraine.

Rabbi Meir Stumbler, director-general of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine, said that “so far 30,000 Jews have been rescued from Kharkiv, Kyiv and other cities in the east and the south.”

filling the windows on the entrance floor of the  Great Synagogue of Kharkivin with sandbags (credit: Jewish Federation of Ukraine)filling the windows on the entrance floor of the Great Synagogue of Kharkivin with sandbags (credit: Jewish Federation of Ukraine)

Kharkiv Choral Synagogue is the largest in Ukraine and one of the largest synagogues in Europe. Completed in 1913, it is described as a combination of Romano-Gothic, Neo-Gothic and Islamic architecture styles.

It served a variety of uses over the years after prayer was halted there in the 1920s, including as a club, cinema, and sports complex. It wasn’t used as a place of worship again until 1990.