The Hurva Synagogue, once the center of life in the Old City of Jerusalem until its destruction in 1948, is now in the final stages of a lavish four-year restoration project by the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter. In advance of the dedication on March 15, 2010, the restoration of the synagogue's wall paintings is almost complete.
The wall paintings, which had undergone several stages of restoration work since the late 1800s, were restored, based on the spirit of the past paintings, with each synagogue wall showcasing a painting of one of the holy cities in the Land of Israel: Jerusalem (the Tower of David), Bethlehem (Rachel's Tomb), Tiberius (a view of the Lake of Galilee and the old settlement), and Hebron (Cave of the Patriarchs).
Studio painting for teh Hurva Synagogue restoration. ©Gidi Avineri
The current paintings were designed by Hurva architect Nahum Meltzer based on research material and executed by the artist Yael Kilmenik, who used acrylic paints suited for external walls. Some of the paintings were done directly on the walls while others were first painted on cloth in a studio and later hung in their ultimate location in the synagogue. Altogether, approximately 30 square meters of wall paintings were painted along with another 80 running meters of ornamentation. The largest of the paintings deals with a verse from Psalms 137, "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept…we hanged up our harps."
Additional information regarding the synagogue can be found on the Web site of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter: http://www.rova-yehudi.org.il
During the opening week, tourists can take free tours of the synagogue by day and enjoy a sound and light presentation at night. The synagogue will operate for regular prayer services and for tours and visits.
Tours can be arranged in advance: 972 2 6265902