A Remnant Rescued from the Flames

Nożyk Synagogue is Warsaw’s last synagogue situated on the left bank of Vistula river that survived World War II. It is one out of two functioning synagogues in the city. Before the war, 400 synagogues and prayer houses were at disposal of the world’s largest Jewish community. Today, Nożyk Synagogue is part of a Jewish community center.

It was raining all day long. It took me some willpower to leave the hotel, but finally I decided to visit Nożyk Synagogue where I had not been before. The synagogue is centrally located in Warsaw’s city center. The old building of the synagogue forms a sharp contrast to the many new tower buildings of booming downtown Warsaw.

After passing the security control I found myself nearly alone in the hall of the synagogue. Only an elder lady was cleaning the benches.

A plaque in the synagogue reads like this:

This is indeed a remnant rescued from the flames.
Zachariah 3:2

This synagogue miraculously stands today. The only synagogue in all of Warsaw to survive the flames of World War II. It was desecrated during the war, rebuilt almost forty years later and renovated once again.

Nożyk Synagogue was built between 1898 and 1902. It was funded and named after Zalman Nożyk, a renowned merchant and philanthropist. Today, Nożyk Synagogue is the heart of Jewish Warsaw. The synagogues offers all necessary services to its community members. The community also supervises and maintains still existing Jewish monuments.

It was still raining when I left the synagogue. I had a short stop at POLIN Jewish Museum – and returned with a pile of books from the museum’s bookstore to the hotel. While I worked on today’s photos it started snowing outside. A strong wind was blowing – snow flakes were horizontally flying by. I wonder how the excursion will be tomorrow.

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4 thoughts on “A Remnant Rescued from the Flames

  1. It’s wonderful that the Nozyk synagogue has been reanimated, but a nice building cannot be divorced from social reality. The supporters have regressed to older notions about the place of women in the synagogue. If you look at the photo of the main floor, you will see a mekhitza (divider between men and women) that is about 6 feet high. Most women would not even be able to see the services from their seats. It also has been reported (I can’t prove this without interviews) that some of the original supporters of the synagogue have been excluded until they undergo a ritual conversion due to a mother or grandmother who was not Jewish. This all fits in with an older, very strict orthodox approach, but it hardly bodes well for long-lived Jewish life in Poland.

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