Stunning recreations of historical Jewish buildings destroyed years ago – Plus61 J Media

Posted By on June 1, 2020

DARA HORN: The digital venture, called Diarna, takes you back to painstakingly revived synagogues and destinations once lost to history

ON A NARROW STREET in Damascus, one of the oldest cities in the world, I pull open a heavy iron door in a cinderblock wall and enter an ancient synagogue. Behind the door, just past a tiled courtyard shaded by a large tree, I am stunned by what I see.

Im standing inside a jewel box. The small room is illuminated by dozens of elaborate beaded chandeliers; its walls are covered with thick red velvet draperies, its stone floor with richly patterned carpets. In front of me is a large flat stone topped with a golden menorah: Here, an inscription informs me, the Hebrew prophet Elijah anointed his successor Elisha, as described in the biblical Book of Kings.

For a place that drew Jewish pilgrims for centuries, it is remarkably well preservedand startlingly intimate. There are no pews here; instead, there are low cushioned couches facing each other, as though this were a sacred living room.

A raised marble platform in the centre has a draped table for public Torah readings; at the rooms far end is an ornate wooden cabinet filled with ancient Torah scrolls, their parchments concealed inside magnificent silver cases.

On the walls are framed Hebrew inscriptions, featuring the same prayers my son is currently mastering for his bar mitzvah in New Jersey.

I should mention here that Ive never been to Damascus. Also, this synagogue no longer exists.

FULL STORY: Inside the incredible effort to recreate historic Jewish sites destroyed years ago (Smithsonian magazine)

Photo: Moshe Nahon Synagogue in Tangier, Morocco. This is a flattened view of a 360-degree photograph from Diarnas archives (Joshua Shamsi/Diarna Geo-Museum)

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Stunning recreations of historical Jewish buildings destroyed years ago - Plus61 J Media

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