Russia - Table of Contents ....................... Architecture Around the World

Choral Synagogue
 
10, Bolshoy Spasogolinischevsky Lane, Moscow, Russia

Exterior

Interior

The Choral Synagogue was originally built in 1892, yet was closed in 1896 when the Jews of Moscow were expelled under a Czarist anti-Semitic decree. It reopened again in 1906.
The Moscow Choral Synagogue is the main synagogue in Russia and in the former Soviet Union.

In 1881, the community hired architect Semeon Eibuschitz, an Austrian citizen working in Moscow. However, his 1881 draft plan was not approved by authorities. The second draft, also by Eibuschitz, was approved in July, 1886, and construction began on May 28, 1887. In 1888, the city intervened again, and required the builders to remove the completed dome and the exterior image of the Scrolls of Moses. Construction dragged on for five years, until the authorities once again banned it in 1892, giving two choices - sell the unfinished building or convert it into a charity.

During the Russian Revolution of 1905, the Czarist government was forced to lift all bans on worship, so Jews, Old Believers, and other minority faith groups were free to build their places of worship anywhere. Eibuschitz had died in 1898, and so the community hired famous architect Roman Klein to finish the construction. The synagogue opened in 1906.

It operated throughout the Soviet period, although authorities had annexed some parts of the original building for secular purposes (in 1923 and 1960).

In September, 1948, Golda Meir, the first ambassador from Israel to the Soviet Union, paid an unauthorized visit to the synagogue, enraging the Soviet government.

The synagogue has been recently restored. It is also known for the famous choir of Michael Turetsky.

- Wikipedia     (April 2011)
The Choral Synagogue in Moscow is an Orthodox synagogue built in 1886. Its position just behind, but not visible from, a major road reflects the ambiguous status of Moscow's Jewish community.

The "choral" part of the synagogue's name refers to the fact that it incorporates several different areas set aside for the use of Armenian, Georgian or Bukharan Jews visiting Moscow.

In 1881, 20,000 Jews were exiled to the Pale in the wave of a reaction that followed the assassination of their emancipator, Alexander II.

But the new regime found itself needing skilled workers and officials were happy to accept bribes, so Moscow's Jews were able to reestablish themselves. The Khoralnaya sinagoga was financed by Polyakov, a railway tycoon, and built in 1886.

Later, by bribing Moscow's governor, the Jewish community was able to erect a Star of David on the top of the Choral Synagogue. It could be seen above the rooftops, which Nicholas II remarked upon as he drove by during his coronation in 1896.

The "choral" part of the synagogue's name refers to the fact that it incorporates several different areas set aside for the use of Armenian, Georgian or Bukharan Jews visiting Moscow.
Sacred Destinations  (April 2011)


Photos and their arrangement 2010 Chuck LaChiusa
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