Thursday, November 3, 2011

Russia -- Replicate? Replace?

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

This Jerusalem Post story about the battles with a circus over the site of the destroyed synagogue in Kaliningrad, where Chabad wants to build a replica/reconstruction of the building, is somewhat off topic, but encompasses some of the dilemmas involved in Jewish heritage preservation and memory.
Jews in the Russian city of Kaliningrad want to reconstruct a grand synagogue on the same spot where it stood before the Nazis destroyed it, but first they have to evict the current tenants: the local circus.

Rabbi David Shvedik told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday he has been trying for years to relocate the circus from the vacant plot where the majestic Konigsberg Synagogue once stood but to no avail.

“We own the land but they won’t leave,” he said on the phone from Kaliningrad. “They’ve threatened us by saying if they were forced to leave and then all the children will be angry at the Jews because there’d be no more circus in town.”

The Chabad emissary said members of the local Jewish community have tried to pay the circus to move.

“We don’t want a war,” Shvedik said, “which is why we’ve offered them 400,000 euros to go but they said no.”
 Read full store HERE

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