(JTA) — The synagogue in Ukraine where the late Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin got married received its first Torah scroll since World War II.
Leaders of Ukrainian Jewry gathered Wednesday at the Choral Synagogue in the western city of Drohobych to celebrate the introduction of the item in a ceremony featuring songs, dances and speeches.
Completed in 1865, the synagogue, inspired by the Rundbogenstil school, was among the region’s most impressive. It became abandoned in the Holocaust, when most of the region’s Jews were murdered by the Nazis. It was a furniture warehouse during communist times. In 2013, philanthropist Viktor Vekselberg funded a $1 million restoration project of the synagogue led by his father, Felix, who was born in that city. The restoration as completed last year.
Israel’s 6th prime minister, Menachem Begin, and his wife, Aliza, got married at the synagogue in 1936. One of the guests at their wedding was Ze’ev Zabotinsky, the leader of Revisionist Zionists and mentor to Begin.
The synagogue is depicted in the famous painting by Maurycy Gottlieb, “Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur,” which is now at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Gottlieb was born in 1856 in Drohobych, then part of the Austrian empire.
It later became part of Poland, was occupied by the Germans, incorporated into the Soviet Union before becoming part of Ukraine.
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