The Tempel Synagogue

ID: 24


The Tempel synagogue, erected in the middle of pl. Staryi Rynok (Old Market) in 1846, was the embodiment of the transformations that befell Lviv's Jewish community after the establishment of the Austrian rule. To increase the number of loyal citizens, the Austrians started a program of "enlightenment" for local Galician Jews, encouraging and urging them to a more secular way of life by relevant laws. This had to have a good effect on their assimilation in the Austro-German context. The government strongly supported the penetration of the Jewish "enlightening" movement "Haskalah" in Lviv. The "Haskalah" followers, the so-called maskilim, entered the official representation of the Jewish community in the administration of the city. So the maskilim were considered "proper Jews" of Habsburg Lviv, while their religious and cultural opponents (Hasidim and Orthodox) were in a semi-legal position. The symbol of the "new," reformed Lviv Jews in the Krakivske suburb was the monumental Tempel synagogue. Originally it was planned to build the synagogue in a more respectable place, located closer to the city's center – on pl. Striletska, but after protests from the nuns of the neighbouring Benedictine convent the Jews had to find a location in the territory of their own district. The building has a simple Neo-Classicist appearance, modeled on the Vienna city synagogue. In 1906-1907 the temple underwent a reconstruction, and in 1919 it was to be repaired after being damaged during a pogrom. During the German occupation of Lviv the synagogue building was completely destroyed.

Mrs. B .: "But in the park, that one on Bohdana Khmelnytskoho street, where drunkards gather, there was a synagogue. And there in the synagogue Jews were praying in a very nice manner, and one could go there only having covered the head with something because if your head was uncovered you were not allowed there; so my brother put a cabbage on his head.
I.: And did they allow him after it?
R.: Yes, they did. He listened as they prayed."

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Pl. Staryi Rynok – former Tempel synagogue

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