Size of the resource:
90x140 mm
Library of the Institute of Ethnology Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Lviv
Biblioteka Instytutu Narodoznawstwa, Lwów
Друкарня "Акрополь", Краків

The earliest mentions of a wooden synagogue in Brody date back to the late sixteenth century. Because of frequent fires, the wealthy Jewish community of Brody reached a decision to construct a stone synagogue. Construction began in 1742. The cornerstone of the “Great” synagogue was laid by Izhak Horowitz, son of Jakub Horowitz of Bolechów, while funds for the construction were donated by Jakób Itzhowicz, son of Itzhak Krukiwer. The completed synagogue, almost a perfect square in its layout, was a defensive construction (the apertures in its attic were embrasures of sorts). The main prayer hall was surrounded by adjacent lower structures from the south, west, and north. Precious artefacts for divine service, which the Jewish community took centuries to collect, were kept inside the synagogue. The history of the Great Synagogue of Brody is rich in legends and oral tradition (dealing with Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chasidism, the Jewish miracle-worker and Rabbi Shulim, etc.). In May 1859, the synagogue suffered in a great fire, which destroyed most of Brody. Renovation works were held in the early twentieth century, which is attested to by an inscription (dating from 1903) on the norther side of the building’s western appendix. The synagogue suffered significant damage in the years of World War Two, losing its southern and northern appendices. The building saw renovation in the mid-1960s, after which it was used as a storeroom. Because of the constantly leaking roof, use of the building was discontinued, and it was left empty, which led to quick ruination. In 1991 the local authorities attempted a restoration of the building to organize a picture gallery inside it. However, the idea was not implemented due to the difficult economic situation. Presently, the landmark is in a disastrous condition, and is suffering further damage from the elements. The picture presents a southeastern view of the Great Synagogue of Brody. A single-storey appendix, the women’s prayer hall, adjoins the buiding from the southern side. This appendix no longer exists today.
Vasyl Strilchuk

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