Bucharest is home to one of the oldest and most important Jewish communities in Romania. Sephardi Jews arrived here in the 16th century. Around the beginning of the 17th century, during the Cossack uprising, the first Ashkenazi Jews came fromUkraine and Poland. A sacred brotherhood, a charity box and a prayer house were registered in 1715.
Some of the synagogues built during the 18th and 19th century also featured ritual baths (mikve). By 1832, 10 holy houses had been established. Their number would increase significantly before the end of the century, almost every one having its own Rabbi and cult performers.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Jewish population in Bucharest numbered 40,000 people with 70 temples and synagogues. From this great number, only a few survived the brutality of history – fascism and communism – and two still serve the city”s present Jewish community.
This tour is designed exclusively to show you this side of Bucharest history and to focus on the main Jewish sights of our capital.
Pick up from your hotel and depart into the heart of the city, the old Jewish quarter of Bucharest, demolished by Nicolae Ceausescu, together with 40000 houses and 21 churches.
The first visit will be at the Museum of the Jewish History: Housed in the magnificently preserved Great Synagogue (1850) in the city”s historically Jewish neighborhood, this museum traces the history of Romania”s Jewish population. The displays include a collection of books written, published, illustrated or translated by Romanian Jews, a small collection of paintings of and by Romanian Jews (many of the same artists” works hang in the National Museum of Art) and memorabilia from Jewish theatres including the State Jewish Theatre.
After this visit, take a walk to the neighboring Choral Temple: Built in 1857, the red brick temple (noted for its magnificent Moorish turrets, choir loft and organ) is the largest active synagogue in Bucharest.
Your last visit of the day will be at the Holocaust Memorial of Bucharest: situated on the banks of the Dambovita river, it has a unique design and it was meant to remember the great sacrifice, hardship and suffering these people went through in the early part of the 20th century. It will surely leave you thinking about the days of the Second World War.
Drop off at you hotel.
End of Service
Separately, one can visit the Yeshuah Tova Synagogue: In a busy side street going towards Piata Amzei from Magheru Boulevard stands the only other functioning synagogue in the city apart from the Choral Temple. Services take place at Sabbath hour on Friday and Saturday evenings.