Maghen Abraham Synagogue under renovation in Beirut City
Renovation of the dilapidated synagogue in Beyrouth’s Centre-Ville began on the weekend after ayears-long delay, according to the Lebanese Jewish Community Council. Beirut’s oldest and last remaining synagogue Maghen Abraham in Wadi Abou Jamil, damaged by Israeli shelling during Israel’s 1982 invasion, is finally undergoing much-needed restoration after suffering several set-backs.
The damage meant the synagogue has been abandoned for the last 30 years, leaving the Lebanese Jewish community without a place of worship, but it is now beginning to see some life again; the rusty padlocked gate has been removed and scaffolding has been erected in the synagogue’s interior.
Restoration is now starting to be made to the gaping hole in the building’s roof and the chandeliers that once hung from the ceiling and the benches that were used for prayer are set to be returned to their former state.
The project to renovate the synagogue was scheduled to begin in 2006 but work was postponed due to instability in the country following the 34-day war with Israel.
The work is said to be costing around $1 million and could take up to a year to complete, according to Lebanese Jewish Community Council, the non-profit organization in charge of the renovation effort.
Much of the funding has come from the 65-year-old leader of the diminishing community, Isaac Arazi, who has already managed to raise $40,000 from private donors in the expatriate Lebanese Jewish community and other anonymous benefactors in the diaspora.
Solidere, the construction firm responsible for much of Central Beirut’s Civil War rebuilding work, has also agreed to donate $150,000 toward the renovation effort. The company also donated a further $2 million to 14 different religious organizations in Lebanon to help them restore their places of worship.
Solidere’s reconstruction contract with the synagogue ensures that the place of worship remains under the ownership of the Jewish community and the building will not be destroyed.
Filed under: Lebanese Expatriates, Strictly Lebanese | 5 Comments
Tags: Abraham, Beirut, Beyrouth, Jews, Lebanon, Meghan, Synagogue, Wadi Abou Jmil