The Great Choral Synagogue, Grodno, Belarus


Shabbat Shira, Parashat Beshelach (בשלח – when she let go), Exodus 13:17-17, 16.

The Parsha Bechalach contains the Shira (15:1-18) sung in chorus by Moshe and the Hebrews and the Song of the Women (15:20-21) sung by Miriam and the women. As for the haftarah (Judges 4:4–5:31), it contains the chant (5:1-31) of Dvorah and Barak.The Levites sang in the temple, but modern singing in the synagogue only appeared in the 17th century. In the 19th century, synagogues whose ceremony was accompanied by choral singing were called choral synagogues. The Jews received citizenship from Grand Duke Witold in 1389 and settled in Hrodna (Grodna). In the 19th century more than 60% of the population were Jews. There are many synagogues and yeshivas in the city. The Great Synagogue of Hrodna was built by Ilya Fronkin, between 1902 and 1905, in a very eclectic style, inspired by Moorish art, on the site of two former synagogues, which were destroyed during fires, one in 1677 and the other in 1899. 1941, the interior of the synagogue was vandalized by the Nazis and the rich decoration was heavily damaged. During the Soviet Union (1944-1991) it was used as a warehouse. In 1991 it was returned to the Jewish community (0.3% of the population) and was fully restored between 2012-2015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *