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The three-year project of documenting Jewish architecture in the Ukraine, which was financed by a grant from the Getty Grant Program in Los Angeles, has successfully been completed. In the past year, 14 synagogues in western Ukraine - Volhynia, Podolia, Bukovina and Galicia – were documented and researched with the assistance of the Western Ukrainian Restoration Authority. The important early 17th century synagogue in the town of Ostrog, Volyn ( see documentation), merited a virtual reconstruction of a three dimensional CD-ROM. The roster of synagogues documented includes the synagogue in Shargorod, probably the earliest one preserved in Podolia. It was built in 1589 and remodeled at the beginning of the 18th century. In Soviet times the building was used as a juice factory.


Czernowitz, the capital of historic Bukovina, now Chernivtsi in Ukraine, passed from one country to another during the last three centuries and was a melting pot of different cultures-- Ukrainian, Romanian, German and Jewish. Of the almost 50 synagogues existing in Czernowitz prior to World War II, only several buildings survived. Four of the more interesting of them were documented in the city, as well as two synagogues in the former town of Sadgora, now a suburb of Czernowitz. In Czernowitz, the Neo-Classical “Great” Synagogue of 1853 ( see documentation), the Neo-Moorish “Temple” of 1877 ( see documentation) and a small synagogue on Sadovskogo St. ( see documentation) retain only their exterior. The most important and still functioning synagogue called “Beit Tefilah Binyamin” was built in 1923 ( see documentation). The small oddly-shaped trapezoidal building has many wall paintings depicting holy places as well as Biblical episodes.


The townlet of Sadgora was the haven of Rabbi Israel Freidman, the rich, controversial “Rabbi of Rhuzin,” who had a palace and a kloiz there after he ran away from imprisonment in Russia in 1840. It became the centre for the Sadgora Hassidim, which spread quickly to other areas. The kloiz, built in the second half of the 19th century was used as a vehicle repair shop since 1950 and was abandoned in the 1990s. The town synagogue in Sadgora, built at the beginning of the 19th century, was remodeled at the beginning of the 20th century and converted in the 1950s into a sewing factory. The documentation of the synagogue of the Tsaddik of Sadgora caused the team to venture into the Galician town of Chortkov, where the brother of the Sadgora rabbi erected a similar building.



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Last Updated: 21 October, 2014
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