Small Synagogue opens is St. Petersburg
Photo by Dasha Koop
September 17th, after four years of restoration, the Small Synagogue was solemnly opened in St. Petersburg.
The governor of St. Petersburg, Mr. G.S. Poltavchenko and Chairman of the Legislative Assembly, Mr. V.S. Makarov, as well as administration and members of the St. Petersburg Jewish Community, major public figures of culture, science, arts and business attended the opening ceremony.
The Small Synagogue of St. Petersburg is located in the backyard of the Grand Choral Synagogue yet was actually built 7 years earlier, in 1886. Initially, there was the Hasidic Merchant Prayer Room. Back in the Soviet Union times, the Small Synagogue played the role of the ultimate stronghold of the Jewish tradition, heart and home of the Jewish life in St. Petersburg. The Small Synagogue never closed even under the World War II siege. Synagogue goers even managed to save all of its unique furniture. The Perestroyka years have brought numerous young Jews seeking their national roots into the Small Synagogue.
The Small Synagogue has always been full of flourishing life. However the building which had never been properly renovated, started to weaken.
A great deal of work was done in those four years. The facade and roof went through a major overhaul. All engineering communications were replaced. The interior was completely restored, including the Aron Kodesh, unique figured ceilings and parquet floor. The windows and doors were completely remastered. Historical chandeliers and lusters were renovated. The Small Synagogue is reverted to the original look, exactly as designed by the founders, almost 130 years ago.
The opening of the Small Synagogue is a great joy for the St. Petersburg Jewish Community. Symbolically, this long expected event occurred right after the celebration of Rosh Ha-Shana, the time of fresh starts and new beginnings.