Kharkiv's Choral Synagogue as seen before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Kharkiv Choral Synagogue

Kharkiv’s Choral Synagogue’s windows shattered from nearby impact of Russian missile.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Ukrainian Jews are working to repair damage to the historic Kharkiv Choral Synagogue after its windows were shattered during a Russian strike on Wednesday.

The missile struck an adjacent shopping center, shattering the synagogue’s windows while 100 Jewish refugees were sheltering in the synagogue’s basement.

“In recent days, we have filled the windows on the entrance floor with sandbags. We fear for the lives of the Jews who moved into the basement of the synagogue, most of them elderly people who cannot leave,” said Kharkiv’s Chief Rabbi Moshe Moskovitz.

The Kharkiv Choral Synagogue, also known as Kharkiv’s Great Synagogue, is the largest in Ukraine and among the biggest in Europe.

The building blends elements of Romano-Gothic, Neo-Gothic, and Islamic architecture styles. The synagogue first opened in 1913. But 10 years later, it was closed by the Communists, who used the building as Jewish worker’s club, adding a movie theater and sports complex.

The building reopened as a place of worship in 1990.

The synagogue currently maintains a mikvah, or ritual bath, as well as classrooms.

Before the Russian invasion, around 45,000 Jews lived in Kharkiv.

With a population of 1.4 million, Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second largest city. Located in northeast Ukraine just 44 km (27 miles) from the Russian border, the industrial city has borne the brunt of Russian shelling, forcing thousands to shelter in underground metro stations.

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