August 8, 2012
Shopping center construction damaging historic Lviv synagogue
The Jewish community in Lviv, Ukraine, has warned that construction of a new shopping center could seriously damage a historic synagogue next to the site.
Construction on the shopping center in downtown Lviv began on July 23 next to the Jakob Glanzer synagogue. Reports in the local media carried photographs and a description of the construction, and said drilling under the foundation of the building already had caused cracks to appear in the synagogue walls.
On Tuesday night, the Jewish Cultural Association of Lviv posted a YouTube video showing young people lighting candles at the synagogue to protest the construction. Earlier, the Jewish community sent a letter to the mayor and the chief architect of Lviv with questions regarding the reason and legal background of the construction work. A protest banner was hung declaring that the synagogue, built in the 1840s, is a protected architectural monument.
One of two surviving synagogues in Lviv, the Glanzer synagogue was used after 1988 as a Jewish cultural center, but suffered damage in a hurricane in 2010 and has been undergoing restoration.
During restoration work earlier this summer, previously unknown wall paintings were discovered in the synagogue. They include at least three large pictures situated on the southern wall under the women’s galleries depicting, according to partly readable inscriptions, Babylonian rivers, the Jerusalem Temple and the Western Wall.