By Andra Beltz
The newest synagogue built in Europe and one of the largest in Eastern Europe was inaugurated on Friday, November 5, 2021, in Sighetu Marmației, Maramures County, Romania. Aaron Teitelbaum, the chief rabbi of the Hasidic community in New York, was present. He decided that the synagogue should be built in Sighet, the hometown of his grandfather, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, the founder of the Hasidic community. The event was attended by rabbis from New York, Paris, London and Frankfurt. On this occasion, hundreds of Hasidic Jews came especially from New York and Europe.
The new Great Synagogue was built on the site of the former Great Synagogue in Sighet, built-in 1778, rebuilt from the wall in 1836, and set on fire in 1944 by the retreating Nazis, after they had used it as a place of detention for 140 Jewish personalities.
The synagogue was built exclusively from the funds of the Hasidic community in New York, the works being started in 2017 and it is not the only building that will be built by this community. The Jewish complex in SighetulMarmatiei includes the new synagogue, a restaurant, a Jewish school, and a hotel.
In the near future, Sighetul will become a place of pilgrimage for this community, said Vasile Moldovan, the mayor of Sighetu Marmației. During today, all participants in the inauguration take part in prayers, but also in a ritual bath. On Saturday evening, November 6, they will move their place of prayer to the Jewish Cemetery, the place where Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, the founder of the Hasidic community, was born in Sighet in 1887, is buried.