Petition to the President of Ukraine
I am writing in order to draw your attention to the ‘Space of Synagogues’ project; at the site of the Turei Zahav - Golden Rose Synagogue and Study Hall, in the old Jewish city center in Lviv.
This project constitutes a trespass on the legal and moral heritage property of the Orthodox Jewish Community of our city, and causes us much anguish.Until the Nazi invasion during the Second World War, these buildings saw hundreds of years of Religious Learning, prayer and Ecclesiastical activities, which even now, continue to have impact on the lives of millions of Orthodox and traditional Jews worldwide.
The religious significance of the Turei Zahav Synagogue and Study Hall (Beit Midrash) was profound. This was not a complex of soul-less libraries, classrooms or museums, but a Holy Space of near full-time prayer - a living, active and functioning 'sacred heart' of our beautiful city.
This is private land, owned and run by the Orthodox Jewish community - a manifestation of a solid history of sacred activity, uninterrupted until the dreadful years of Nazism and Communism - and now, despite our continued pleas to rebuild our Synagogue and Study Hall these last decades, the Lviv Municipality has ignored our claims and, adding insult to injury, made a coalition of desensitising and destruction.
This is not a 'conservation' project, but a clear plan to divest this sacred area of ours of its monumental historical and sacred meaning. This is not a preservation but a squandering of what is rightfully ours. We have the community infrastructure, members and programming to bring back the traditional hallowed activities of these, our heritage buildings.
Lviv Municipality under sponsorship of the German GIZ organization and others has gone ahead with this project – decreed illegal by the courts of Ukraine. The UCSJ director in Ukraine Mr. Meylakh Sheykhet petitioned the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the central office of GIZ in Berlin with the request to stop this illegal Project forthwith. Sad to say that our voice was not heeded by the Government of Germany. The project clearly violates Human Rights, the Rights of Freedom of Conscience, 1972 UNESCO Convention, 1994 US-Ukraine Treaty and many other clauses of International Law.
The Lviv municipality stated that from now on the Holy Synagogue precincts and Study Hall are no longer sacred. This is an insulting unlawful statement contravening Orthodox Jewish Law (Halacha), which is absolutely clear on this subject.
The rightful heirs of this hallowed area are the Orthodox Jewish Community of Lviv – a functioning communal body, carrying the same name as the Synagogue, and holding various programmes educational, religious and welfare based.This is not the place in which to create such a memorial garden. It is a desecration anew of our religious heritage, and echos the bloody events of the past.
We plead to the G-d fearing Jews of the world to protest this travesty, and call for the return of this sacred area to its rightful owners - the Orthodox Jewish Community of Lviv, spearheaded by the Turei Zahav Kehilla (Community)Our city has so many spaces which could house this memorial. It has no place at the hallowed Turei-Zahav, Golden Rose.
Please send back to us your information to be considered as a signature and also you might send us your thoughts and encouragements, to these addresses:
UCSJ Director in Ukraine
Turei Zahav Jewish community""
Friends of the Turei Zahav kehilla
Center for the Jewish Heritage