Wooden Synagogue from Piatra Neamt was built in 1766 and it is a monument with a long and controversial history, being testimony of numerous Jewish communities that lived in this city since the Middle Ages.
Current synagogue was built on the place of older one, which was made of stone, based on a document signed by Prince Grigore III Ghica. The construction was made of wood since in the early eighteenth century was allowed the construction of a few synagogues only using this material.
The fact that Synagogue is located so close to the “St. Joan” church, this representing a breach of the traditional distance of about 300 m which should separate a synagogue of a Christian church, is explained by the great antiquity of the original building that would have preceded the construction of the buildings from the era of Stephen the Great. Supporters of this view presume that no one would have allowed the construction of a synagogue inside the walls of the Princely Court and that the building already existed in 1497-1499 when Stephen the Great built the church and bell tower, keeping the synagogue on the old site.
Synagogue of Piatra Neamt is constructed of thick beams coated both inside and outside. Because of the high stone foundation, entering the building is done using the descending staircase. The interior is presented as a closed two-story gallery to the north and one floor on the west side, where women’s synagogue is; in the south there is another smaller gallery for children.
In the the east wall of the synagogue is located the “Holy Urn” true work of art executed in carved wood and arranged into three levels, each level being seated on round columns covered with bronze and silver. This urn was made in 1835 by Şaraga Iţchok ben Moische. In the patrimony of the sanctuary was preserved also a beautiful curtain with seven triangles and a Hebrew inscription indicating that it was made in 1767, only one year after the construction of the present edifice.
The dome and the side walls are original parts of the building. The altar, gold plated, exists of 250 years. The synagogue is linked to the name of Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism.
The Baal Shem Tov synagogue is the only wooden synagogue in Eastern Europe, which was kept intact with all its symbolic , religious, legendary and architectural value.
- AddressStrada Doctor Dimitrie Ernici, Piatra Neamț, Romania