A third auction for The Great Synagogue in Slonim was held on 19 October and the Foundation for Jewish Heritage did not take part. Our reason primarily concerns a condition attached to the sale requiring completion of the project within five years. Following expert advice, and with the added uncertainties of Covid-19, we do not believe it is possible to undertake restoration to a standard befitting the building within that very limited timeframe.
The Synagogue is one of the more important historic buildings in Belarus, and certainly one of the most important reminders of Jewish life in the country. We have shown our commitment to its preservation through undertaking a structural survey, roof repair, and the fitting of wall monitoring equipment. We have commissioned a study from the Belarusian Voluntary Society for the Protection of Historic and Cultural Monuments as the foundation of a viable plan for the building’s future, and one that will contribute to Slonim’s economy.
The Synagogue is the heritage of the Belarusian people, its once vibrant Jewish communities, and those of Slonim in particular. Dialogue with the Slonim community and the City Council will be important to delivering a successful project sensitive to this history. But investigating, developing and implementing a sustainable vision for the Synagogue will take longer than five years and the Foundation needs to be assured of the feasibility of the undertaking, as well as a longer timescale, before acting on our wish to purchase.
For further information contact Michael Mail, Chief Executive, Foundation for Jewish Heritage by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 7968 529609