The 'Space of Synagogues' project on the site of our hallowed 430 year old Turei Zahav (Golden Rose) Synagogue and Study Hall (Beit Midrash), is illegal. It is an act of trespass on this, the sacred land of our Orthodox Jewish Community, and is both morally and historically illegitimate.
'The Most Beautiful Synagogue in all Ukraine', Turei Zahav was blown up in the Holocaust (Shoah) with the ruins further damaged by the Soviet Regime. Our community's attempts to redevelop this and other historical sites of our ancient Jewish Quarter were quashed by the post-communist Lviv Municipality, and our hopes of reconvening for prayer, learning and community on this hallowed ground have been dashed.
Instead, Lviv Municipality under sponsorship of the German GIZ organization and others, have proceeded with this act of trespass and have ignored both the courts of our nation, Ukraine, and the continued objections of our community and our international supporters.
We are bitterly offended by the Municipality's statement that nowadays the Holy Synagogue precincts including the Study Hall are 'no longer sacred,' This is in direct contravention of Jewish Law, and is in flagrant disregard of the directives of both UNESCO and the courts of the Ukraine.
It is a project created for the sake of political and commercial gain; is utterly discredited historically and ill-fitting to the point of insult religiously. To Orthodox Torah-True Jewish eyes, this desecration and bulldozing of our heritage, serves as an echo of the bloody events of the past.
How sad it is that a German government sponsored organization of development: GIZ has decided to take part in this attempt to redesign and sanitize the tremendous religious significance of this sacred site.
This was not a former theatre, library or club!
Turei Zahav was the alma mater and court seat of countless Grand Rabbis. The hallowed 'Turei Zahav' himself: Rabbi David Halevy Segal ob”m, who merited to have his Halachic opinion implemented throughout the world in his own lifetime and Rabbi Tzvi Ashkenazi – the Chacham Tzvi ob”m, unique in that his teachings were adopted by both European and Asian communities, are amongst the major Torah leaders who graced this beautiful city of ours, with uninterrupted study, prayer and community leadership on this very patch of ground, the synagogue erected in the middle of the sixteenth century Their graves in the old cemetery now lie defiled, under a city market.
This secular memorial, its design unbefitting and themes contrary to the hallowed confines of a Synagogue and Beit Midrash must not set a precedent for the whitewashing of our religious heritage. Thankfully, the rule of law in the Ukraine is solid, and our High Courts have deemed this project illegal – yet the municipality is in flagrant disregard of this.
This coming Hebrew year 5777 marks the 350th anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Segal – the Turei Zahav. It should be a year of dedication and recommitment heralded by our Turei Zahav Kehilla, which, meeting adjacent to the Synagogue holds daily prayer, runs welfare and community activities and hosts Shabbat programs for a growing number of members.
On this Tisha b'Av we will stand up to the menacing desecration of the few, and with the law on our side, and knowledgeable of our moral and religious right – we will, with the Grace of G-d, prevail.
Turei Zahav Orthodox Jewish Kehilla (Community)
International Friends of Turei Zahav, Lviv