“This Synagogue serves as a memorial to the destroyed synagogues of European Jewry. It will be a testimonial to the faith, to the rich spiritual world of European Jewry and to the extraordinary will of the Jewish people to survive, to remember and to rebuild.”
(Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem at the dedication of the Synagogue, June 2005)
The Synagogue at Yad Vashem is designed to combine past and present. It serves as a memorial and, at the same time, as a functioning place of worship and assembly. Joyous occasions celebrated here, such as Bar Mitzvah ceremonies, symbolize renewal and the continuing chain of tradition.
The focal point of the prayer hall is the Torah Ark whose façade is constructed from fragments of a Torah Ark from Bârlad, Romania.
Displayed around the perimeter of the Synagogue are additional surviving Torah Arks and sacred ritual ornaments from synagogues throughout Europe. These artifacts testify to the flourishing past of European Jewry and serve as a memorial to the Jewish communities that flourished on the eve of the Second World War and were destroyed under the Nazi regime.
Some of the sacred ornaments exhibited are displayed as they were found, as fragments. They shine against the dark background, thus demonstrating that they are only remnants of a shattered world.