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Former Synagogue

A former synagogue in Kalarash (1993)
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In 1993, the general population of Kalarash was said to be about 20,000 [1]. Another source reported that in 2001, there were only 17,000 people living in the town [2] and by 2004, the total population of the town was said to have increased to 21,673.[3]

In 1930, there were 3,662 Jews in Kalarash, which was about 76% of the general population.[4] Although the Jewish community was decimated during the Holocaust, there still were some Jews living in Kalarash after the war. A visitor to the town in 1993 was told by the mayor that there were 20 Jewish families in Kalarash. In 1998, a Soviet Jewry activist who went to Moldova reported that 60 Jews were living in Kalarash.[6] Two years later, the newsletter of the Kishinev Hillel Student Organization noted that a Pesach seder had been conducted in Kalarash, by volunteers from Kishinev.[7]

Prior to World War II, there had been six synagogues in the town. By 1993, only one of the synagogue buildings was left --- a two-story edifice located at Aleksandr sel Bun 161 [pictured above], which was used for storage.[8] In 1996, Moldavian authorities reportedly offered to return this former synagogue to the town’s Jewish community, but the community was said to have declined to accept it.[9] Given the small number of Jews in the town and the poor economic situation in Moldova, it is likely that the community lacked the financial resources to maintain the synagogue.

  1. Information courtesy Miriam Weiner, Routes to Roots Foundation, Secaucus, NJ, reporting a conversation she had with the mayor of Kalarash in 1993.
  2. Population Statistics: Moldova at www.populstat.info/Europe/moldovat.htm
  3. "Calarasi, Moldova", Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C4%83l%C4%83ra%C5%9Fi,_Moldova
  4. Weiner, Miriam, Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories, p. 362 (Routes to Roots Foundation and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 1999)
  5. Information courtesy Miriam Weiner, op. cit., endnote 1
  6. Gidwitz, Betsy, "The Jews of Moldova, 1998" at www.jcpa.org/jl/jl390.htm
  7. "The Number of the Liberated Goes Up," in Newsletter of Kishinev Hillel Student Organization at http://www.iatp.md/doreiuu/pesach.html
  8. Information courtesy Miriam Weiner, op. cit.
  9. "Our Legacy: The CIS Synagogues, Past and Present," The Jewish Agency for Israel, at www.jafi.org.il/education/worlwide/synagogues/appendix2.html

Credits: Text and page design copyrighted © 2007 by Helene Kenvin. Photograph copyrighted © 1993 by Miriam Weiner Photo Archives; used with permission, courtesy of Routes to Roots Foundation, Secaucus, NJ. Page created by Helene Kenvin. All rights reserved.