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Harbin Synagogue | by ROSS HONG KONG
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Harbin Synagogue

Harbin, China


The New Synagogue is located in Jingwei Street, Daoli District, bordering the city center. It is the second Jewish synagogue in Harbin and was established in addition to the main synagogue, known as the Old Synagogue.


Built in 1918 and finished in 1921, the New Jewish Synagogue covers an area of more than 1,230 square meters and can accommodate as many as 800 worshipers. It is the biggest of its kind in Northeast China.


However, the New Synagogue has not been used for worship since most Jewish people left the city in the 1950s. Re-opening in the 1990s, it was used as a club for the local Public Security Bureau. After renovation and reconstruction by the Harbin Municipal Government in 2004, the New Synagogue was transformed into a Jewish museum of history and culture, preserving and exhibiting Jewish artifacts.


The New Synagogue once played a significant role in Jewish religious, political and cultural life. Fleeing their homelands due to persecution and war, a large number of Jewish people settled in Harbin in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. During times of celebration and religious festivals, the synagogue attracted people from throughout the province.


Today, the synagogue is one of the must-see attractions in Harbin due to its unique architecture and culture. Each year, many descendants of the Harbin Jews return to their roots and scholars of Jewish culture also come to study their heritage.


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Taken on December 27, 2010