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Synagoga Bobowa

The Synagogue in Bobowa

The Baroque building of the Synagogue dates from the 18th century. The central part of the building is made of stone, and the front is varied by a wooden annexe with an expansive balcony.

The first mention of Bobowa Jews dates to the 16th century, though they settled in the town permanently in 1732. They were brought to Bobowa by Michał Jaworski, the heir to the town, to stimulate trade, which was declining in the area. Forty years later, they made up a thriving Jewish community. The Bobowa Synagogue was built in 1756. A massive fire, which broke out in the town in 1889 and destroyed most of the buildings, did not spare the Synagogue either. However, immediately afterwards, a decision was made to renovate the building and give it its present form. The Bobowa Synagogue was ravaged during the German occupation. After the war, the building was adapted for the weaving workshops of the local school. The bimah (a raised place in the centre from which the Torah and prophetic books are read and prayers are held) was removed, and the polychrome walls were whitewashed. In 1993, the Synagogue was taken over by the Jewish Religious Community in Krakow. Renovated thanks to funds from Rabbi Asche Scharf of New York, it was ceremonially opened in July 2003, on the anniversary of the death of Bobowa Tzadik Halberstam. Chaim Halberstam was the founder of the Sanz Tzadik dynasty. His sons led the Hasidic communities in Chrzanów, Gorlice and Sieniawa. A special event in the life of the Jewish community in Bobowa in the interwar period was the wedding of Bencjon Halberstam's daughter Nechama Golda to Mojżesz Stempel, the son of a hotel owner from Krakow, which took place on 10 March 1931. It was an event not of regional but of national and European significance. A procession of thousands of people led the groom, and the wedding lasted several days. Today, Bobowa is the destination of Hasidic pilgrimages worldwide. The Synagogue serves as a place of worship and is open to visitors.

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