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Obj. ID: 8851
Jewish Architecture
  Great Synagogue in Eišiškės, Lithuania

© “Synagogues in Lithuania: A Catalogue” Archives, Photographer: Vedeikaitė, Ieva, 2006

Judging from the photographs taken in 1911 and 1940, the synagogue was probably built in the late 18th century. The building was reconstructed after the fire of 1895. 

The synagogue was plastered; it stood on a boulder masonry socle, and was covered with a high three-tier mansard gambrel shingled roof. The two-storey main western façade had a segment-headed entrance doorway with a folding door placed in the center of the ground floor and a large round-headed window above it. It was flanked with two shallow niches, each with a Tuscan half-column. These columns apparently referred, like in many other synagogues, to Jachin and Boaz, two pillars on the porch of Solomon’sTemple(1 Kings 7:21). Other openings of the façade were rectangular tall or low windows. The triangular gable of the gambrel roof contained a small semicircular window. The Tablets of the Law rising above the gable were apparently added after 1911, as they do not appear in the earlier photograph. The tablets were supported by a rampant lion from the northern side; a similar figure on the southern side has been lost. The northern façade had four high round-headed windows of the prayer hall and the first-floor women’s section. Smaller rectangular windows are seen on the ground floor of the western part of the structure. The synagogue bore traces of Baroque and Neo-Classicist features. The hall was situated lower than the vestibule, and was accessed through two small staircases leading down. Its walls were smooth and whitewashed, with stained-glass windows. The Torah ark was placed at the eastern wall. The amud was donated by the Jewish veterans of WWI “in gratitude for their safe return from the war and in memory of those who were not so fortunate.” The old amud was then removed to the vestibule, where weekday prayers were held in summer. On the southern side of the vestibule was a small shtibl of Ḥevrat Mishnayot (Society for Studying Mishnah), situated in the only heated room in the synagogue. According to the memoirs, the women’s section, situated on the first floor above the vestibule, was reached through a doorway on the northern façade. It had stained-glass windows and was connected to the prayer hall through “a row of arched windows cut into a three-foot-thick stone wall, each window covered with lacy white curtains.” 

After WWII, the synagogue was transformed as a school gym. By 2006, when it was surveyed, it was a one-storey rectangular structure plastered and covered with a low gable roof of asbestos sheets.

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sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Great Synagogue in Eišiškės | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
1770-1800?
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
After 1895; after 1945
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Congregation
Unknown
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Condition
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography

CJA & Lita documentation;

Marija Rupeikienė, Nykstantis kultūros paveldas: Lietuvos sinagogų architektūra (Vilnius, 2003), p. 71 ill. 47;

Pinkas hakehilot: Polin, vol. 8: mehozot vilna, byalistok, novogrudek (Jerusalem, 2005), p. 125;

Yaffa Eliach, There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok (Boston, 1998), pp. 65-89 with ill. on p. 64;

Eishishok: koroteha vehurbana, eds. Perets Alufi and Shaul Barkali (Jerusalem, 1950), p. 26, ill. in the beginning;

www.zydai.lt/lt/content/viewitem/619/;

ill. KPCA Neg. No. 2707;

Valentinas Bransišauskas, "Fate of Jewish Property in Lithuania during World War II," in Alfredas Jomantas (ed.), Jewish Cultural Heritage in Lithuania (Vilnius: Versus aureus Publishers, 2006), p. 58;

Niunkaitė-Račiūnnienė, Aistė, Lietuvos žydų tradicinio meno ir simbolių pasaulis: Atvaizdai, vaizdiniai ir tekstai (Vilnius, 2011), ill. 98-99


Cohen-Mushlin, Aliza, Sergey Kravtsov, Vladimir Levin, Giedrė Mickūnaitė, Jurgita Šiaučiūnaitė-Verbickienė (eds.), Synagogues in Lithuania. A Catalogue, 2 vols. (Vilnius, 2010-12)
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
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Author of description
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Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.