Jewish District sightseeing

Choral Temple guided tour - Bucharest private car | Holiday in RomaniaOld Beyth Hornidrash Synagogue is off-the-beaten-track.
Due to nearby Saint George neighborhood, this is also known as Synagogue from Saint George.
Restored in 1947, the synagogue received a much simpler facade.
After the restoration from 1955, Jewish community used it for service until 1978 when it became a warehouse.

A little further from the synagogue, along Calea Mosilor, a Bulgarian merchant raised in 1867 Hristo Georgiev House.
Right after it, jeweler Haim Ioines raised also in the 19th century the Jewish Inn with arched patterns above windows.
This burnt down during the fire that desolated Bucharest on an Easter Sunday in the same century.

The highlights include:
– Choral Temple – the best known monument of Jewish heritage in Bucharest.
– State Jewish Theater
– Holy Union Synagogue – museum within and fine cluster of old houses
– Great Synagogue – museum within

 

STATE JEWISH THEATER

The first Jewish theater worldwide was founded in Iasi in 1876 by Avram Goldfaden.

The foremost Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu, signed one of his first stage plays chronicles, appreciating the performance as “very good”.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Doctor Iuliu Barasch built the theater in Bucharest.
Initially meant as a clinic, this became a  cultural house for the community.
During WW2 Jewish actors were not allowed to act in Yiddish nor in Romanian theaters.
So they founded Barascheum Theater where they acted, in Romanian, mostly revue performances.
Nationalized in 1948, the theater was restored in 1954-1955.
It is still interesting to attend one of their excellent performances, featuring Maia Morgenstern or Rudy Rosenfeld.
Performances held in Yiddish are translated in Romanian through earphones.
During the last 25 years, they had several international tours.
In 1991 and 1996 they organized and hosted International Festival of Yiddish Theater.
And in 2003 they were the co-organizer and host of the first Festival of Yiddish Culture in Europe.

 

HOLLY UNION TEMPLE

Also known as Ahdut Kodesh, this is the former Tailors' Synagogue.

Bucharest’s Jewish Tailors’ Guild, a Lech (Polish) Jews Community raised it in the middle of the 19th century as worship place for local tailors’ craft union.
Steel columns sustain the structure and alternative layers of bricks and white plaster decorate the facade.
Whole composition gathers Moorish, Romanesque and Byzantine elements, with obvious influences from religious and laic Wallachian architecture.
It functioned as place of worship until 1968.

Romanian Jews History Museum

In 1978 it became the Romanian Jewish History Museum at the initiative of Chief Rabbi Dr. Moses Rosen.
Back then, this was Chief Rabbi of Jewish community in Romania.
Moses Rosen was the only rabbi in the world member of a National Great Assembly of a socialist country.
He was 46 years in charge ? until 1994 ?
A visit here teaches you about:
– history of Jewish communities in Romania,
– its origins and growth,
– contribution and influence to Romanian culture, economy and political life.
The name has several variants, including History Museum of Romanian Jewish Community.
It presents Jews history on Romanian territory since 2nd century until nowadays.
It contains:
– religious objects,
– paintings by Jewish painters,
– replicas of synagogues in the country,
– collections representative for Romanian Jewish history,
– items representative for Romanian Jews creation and culture,
– Yiddish theater history.

Exhibits proof of the once large Jewish community existence, as well as a memorial for the deportation and extermination years.
The museum broadly covers the Jews history in Romania.
Displays include an enormous collection of books written, published, illustrated or translated by Romanian Jews; a serious archive of Romania history and collection of paintings of and by Romanian Jews.
Interested in studying Jewish community even further ?
You can go to Jewish History Institute nearby.
Currently under repair the museum is temporarily located within Holocaust Museum, at Great Synagogue.

 

GREAT SYNAGOGUE

The inscription in Hebrew on the building reads: My home is a home of pray and requests for all religions.

It is the same inscription as that on Choral Temple.
This temporarily hosts Jewish History Museum reorganized in September 2018 when it reopened for tourists.
Founded in 1850 by a community of Polish (Lech) Jews, the synagogue was first restored in 1865 and adapted to electric lighting in 1915.
Over years, it suffered multiple changes and restorations, being repaired in 1865, redesigned in 1903 and rebuilt in 1908.
In 1936, Ghershon Horowitz (coming from a painters’ family of Focsani) repainted it in Rococo style.
It survived both World War II and Nicolae Ceausescu unscathed.

Extreme right Legionaries devastated it, so they had to restore it again in 1945.
This is one of the largest synagogues in the country and possibly the one with the most beautiful interior.
For all these, in 2004, Romanian Academy included it on the list of historical monuments.
This probably saved it from demolition of most of the surrounding area in the late ’80s.
In order to hide it from public sight, communists virtually fenced off the synagogue with concrete buildings.

Holocaust Museum

Ever since 1992 it has been hosting the exhibition Memorial of Jewish Martyrs “Chief Rabbi Dr. Mozes Rosen”.

 

Old Bucharest Jewish neighbourhood

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Happy tours !

Warm regards,
Kryss

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