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(VII) Img. ID: 305876 Wooden Beit Midrash in Žiežmariai, , Žiežmariai (Zhizhmory), 1850-1900? edit  
Category: Jewish Architecture

General Document

2 Name/Title Wooden Beit Midrash in Žiežmariai | Unknown
3a Object Synagogue
3b Object Detail
4a Artist/ Maker Unknown (Unknown)
5 Date 1850-1900?
5a Activity Dates
5b Reconstruction Dates
6 Period Unknown
6a Period Detail
7 Origin Lithuania | Kaunas County | Žiežmariai (Zhizhmory)
8 Community Ashkenazi
9 Collection Unknown |
9a Documentation / Research project Unknown
10 Location Lithuania | Kaunas County | Žiežmariai
| 6 Vilniaus St.
11 Site Unknown
12 School/Style Wooden construction (Central and Eastern Europe)|
13 Iconographical Subject Unknown |
14 Category
17 Photographer Levin, Vladimir
18 Photograph Date 1997
19 Negative/ Photo. No.
19a Scan No. A395965
20 Description

The beit midrash was probably built in the second half of the 19th century, and must have been severely damaged in the fire of 1918.

The exterior of the wooden beit midrash shows clearly the interior division into a prayer hall on the southeast and the vestibule with women’s section above it in the northwest. The building has retained its form as seen on photographs from the 1930s. The beit midrash is a milled wood log house, built on a masonry foundation. It has a rectangular plan, 22.57 by 17.19 m, with its shorter sides facing southeast and northwest. Its maximal height is 9.65 m. The lofty southeastern part of the building housed a prayer hall. The northwestern part includes a central vestibule and two chambers on either side on the ground floor, and a women’s section on the first floor. An extension with a staircase to the women’s section is adjacent to the western corner of the building with a door opening on its southeastern side (currently the stairs are missing). The entire log structure is spanned with a hipped roof in a truss construction.

The main entrance to the building is cut through the center of the northwestern façade, where traces of a demolished exterior lobby are still evident. The windows of the two-storey part of the building are rectangular. Another door leading directly to the prayer hall is located on the northeastern façade. The prayer hall with 18 windows (one of them is combined with a door) is nearly square; it measures 13.86 m from southeast to northwest and 15.00 m from northeast to southwest; it is 5.13 m high. The ceiling of the prayer hall is supported by two heavy longitudinal beams, which rest on the division wall of the women’s section, the southeastern wall of the hall and the central pillars. Originally, the ceiling of the prayer hall was planked; some planks remain in the eastern corner, in very poor condition. The interior of the building was originally lathed, plastered, and whitewashed, though much of the plaster is missing. Most of the interior adornments are lost, although the wooden patera in the ceiling above the bimah and the capitals of the central pillars still exist; these elements are painted white, blue and gold. A fragment of painted frieze with a repeated stencil rose design in between a broad blue band and red doted line is traceable on the northwestern wall. The Torah ark stood at the center of the southeastern wall, in the wide pier between the central windows. A painted plaster relief showing a palmetto held in what looks like a triangular vase, was situated above the ark and is still visible. The entrance to the prayer hall is located in the center of the northwestern wall, above which, in the interior, there are fifteen segment-headed openings connecting the hall to the women’s section. There are six round-headed windows on each of the southeastern and southwestern sides of the prayer hall, and five such windows and a round-headed door combined with a window in the northeastern wall. The frames of all the openings were painted gold. In general, the forms and colors of the interior decoration hint at Neo-Classicist aesthetics, while the palmetto may be inspired by Lithuanian folk motifs.

After WW II the former beit midrash was used as a storage, and a wooden lavatory was added to its southwestern façade. Since the 1980s the building has been abandoned. Recently a plaque was put on the building, reading “Synagogue of Žiežmariai / This synagogue has been selected as a part of the / European Route of Jewish Heritage. // This Route, officially recognized by the Council of Europe as a European Cultural Route, encompasses Jewish sites of outstanding European value.” Regardless of this recognition, the building is rapidly falling apart.

(Text from Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, Sergey Kravtsov, Vladimir Levin, Giedrė Mickūnaitė, Jurgita Šiaučiūnaitė-Verbickienė (eds.), ~Synagogues in Lithuania. A Catalogue~, 2 vols. (Vilnius, 2010-12)).






21 Ornamentation
22 Custom
23 Contents
24 Codicology
24a Scribes
24b Script
24c Number of Lines
24d Ruling
24e Pricking
24f Quires
24g Catchwords
24h Hebrew Numeration
24i Blank Leaves

25 Material/Technique
25a Material Structure
25b Material Decoration
25c Material Bonding
25d Material Inscription
25e Material Additions
25f Material Cloth
25g Material Lining
25h Tesserae Arrangement
25i Density
25j Colors
25k Construction Material

26 Measurements
26a Height
26b Length
26c Width
26d Depth
26e Circumference
26f Thickness
26g Diameter
26h Weight
26i Axis
26j Panel Measurements
27 Direction/Location
27a Façade (main)
27b Entrances
27c Location of Torah Ark
27d Location of Apse
27e Location of Niche
27f Location of Reader's Desk
27g Location of Platform
27h Temp: Architecture Axis
27i< Arrangement of Seats
27j Location of Women's Section
27k Direction Prayer
27l Direction Toward Jerusalem

28 Coin
28a Coin Series
28b Coin Ruler
28c Coin Year
28d Denomination

29 Signature
30 Colophon
31 Scribal Notes
32 Watermark
33 Hallmark
33a Group
33b Subgroup
33c Hallmark Identification
33d Hallmark Group Classification
33e Hallmark Reference
34 Trade Mark
35 Binding
36 Decoration Program
36 Summary and Remarks
38 Suggested Reconstruction
39 History/Provenance
40 Main Surveys & Excavations
41 Condition
42 Biography
43 Bibliography
43a Short Name
43b Full Name
43c Volume
43d Page

44 Type
45 Temp: Batch Number
46 Temp: Aleph Number
47 Temp: Sys. Number / Doc. Name
48 Temp: Addenda

Function: Name: Date:
49 Documenter 49a
50 Researcher 50a
51 Architectural Drawings 51a
52 Computer Reconstruction 52a
53 Section Head 53a
54 Editor 54a
55 Donor 55a