A small and forgotten Shul

The Merarilor Synagogue of Jassy, Romania was built in 1865 in the Jewish neighborhood/quarter of the city. It functioned along with the hundreds of synagogues as a site not only for prayer but also for communal gatherings by the various Ashkenazim of Jassy.

But now it is a construction site that has been in repair for years as a result of sheer neglect at the hands of the Romanian government. The current community does not have the funds nor the backing of the necessary institutions to help it rebuilt this historical monument.

The building itself is not necessarily amazing nor beautiful but after some research I found out that it was mainly used by poor Jews in the community. On their way to work or on their breaks they would go and do their prayers in this practical shul.- In a way very much resembling the 19th century.


What does Merarilor even mean? It literally means “apple growers”. The reason for this I do not know but it is nonetheless interesting. Maybe the people that prayed here in its early days were apple pickers?

The point is that it is an important, still standing(in part at least) monument to the once bustling and strong community of Jews in Jassy, -that has sadly dwindled today in presence. During the years of communism most of the Shuls were destroyed by Ceausescu in order to build new apartment buildings.

As I walked around the building I could see that not much work had been accomplished since 2004 since reparations actually began! Which is sad, as Jassy was once a rich and beautiful city of Yiddish culture, which harbored the first Yiddish theater set up by Abraham Goldfaden.

dsc00618The main entrance of Merarilor Synagogue

It is important to remember even the simplest of historical monuments, even though they are now forgotten by the scourges of time, they still hold an important role in teaching us about the lives and times of Jews of past generations. Hopefully the restoration will actually continue and one day this old building will regain its former function

About the Author
I am a historian that concentrates on many different aspects of material history, but also Jewish history as a whole.
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