130-Year-Old Shul Reopens After a Decade-Long Renovation

After extensive restoration, a 130-year-old synagogue reopened with an impressive visit from Russia’s Chief Rabbi and the District Governor and Mayor.

After a decade of restoration and renovation, one of the most magnificent synagogues in Russia was finally reopened in the city of Bryansk, which is located about 250 miles from the capital Moscow. This was thanks to the great effort invested by the city’s Rabbi and Shliach Menachem Mendel Zaklos, and the chairman of the Bryansk Jewish community Mr. Lev Moisevich Linkov

Since the arrival of Rabbi Zaklos and his wife Rivka, the city has undergone a spiritual revolution. Once boasting a rich Jewish life, with the rise of Communism, all synagogues were ordered to be closed, and the Jewish community which numbered thousands of families, remained like sheep without a shepherd, lacking any Jewish infrastructure. Thanks to the untiring work of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s emissaries, Jewish life in the city is once again blossoming, with attention being paid to all the city’s Jews, and especially to the younger generation. 

The synagogue’s grand reopening was attended by the city mayor, government officials, and hundreds of local Jews. Built with unique wooden decorations combined with stained glass windows and intricate mosaics, the work took many months to complete. The magnificent building will also serve as a Community Center for educational and humanitarian activities.

The Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar made an impressive visit to the city. After meeting with the governor of the Bryansk district Alexander Vasilievich Bogomez, they toured the new center together, during which the governor expressed his appreciation to the Zaklos family for all that they do for the city’s Jews, as well as words of praise for the great work done on behalf of all of Russia’s Jewish Communities. 

During his visit, the Chief Rabbi gave lessons in preparation for the holiday of Matan Torah and encouraged the city’s residents to partake in the activities invested for their sake and for the sake of the future generation. 

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Photos: Vladimir Kochkin

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