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Looking back on a festive opening day

On Sunday 5 September, the new museum layout of Synagogue Groningen was opened by René Paas, the King's Commissioner in Groningen. From now on, everyone can learn more about the rich culture, traditions and history of Jewish Groningen in the Jewish house of worship, the place where the community has gathered since the 18th century.

René Grünewald addressed the attendees on behalf of the board of the Folkingestraat Synagogue Foundation. He recalled how ten years ago the board gave the first impetus to the museum redesign of the synagogue. The aim of this project was to tell the story of the Jewish community in a contemporary way. With the exhibition and the associated education programmes, Synagogue Groningen wants to encourage dialogue, reflection and greater understanding. Historian Willy van der Schuit talked about the realisation of the exhibition. As project leader, she has been developing the concept since 2019. From 2020 she led the Groninger Design collective, which realised the exhibition.

L'Chaim - Life

Singer-songwriter George Welling wrote a song for this special afternoon in which the story of Jewish Groningen resounds, entitled L'Chaim (life). The synagogue is above all a home for the living, and life continued here even after the horror of the Shoa: 'The tree has new branches'. This musical contribution was followed by a speech by Frits Grünewald on behalf of the board of the Jewish Community of Groningen. On this special occasion, a new mezuzah was presented and will soon be placed in the synagogue.

Photo's: Roelof Bos

More than just the war

“If this exhibition makes anything clear, it is that the story of the Jewish community is more than that period, the war”, says Paas. Prior to the meeting, the King's Commissioner and his wife were given a tour of the refurbished synagogue. “I didn't know that the great-great-grandfather of Israel's new prime minister was from Groningen. And from your look, I suppose you didn't know that either." In his opening speech, Paas emphasized the importance of the refurbished synagogue for Groningen and established a link between the past and current events. With a firm push on the button, the King's Commissioner started the film, officially opening the permanent exhibition.

Watch the opening meeting here!


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