Jewish Riga 2009

Our Guide Inese sent an update with amazing news from Riga, the “Paris of the North”. Enjoy her report!

On August 26th, 2009 after two years of renovation, the one functioning synagogue in Riga, called the “Peitav shul” opened its doors for services and for visitors. Rabbi Mordechai Glazman placed the Mezuzah at the doors of the synagogue. in the presence of many guests: representatives of the Latvian Jewish communities, the President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers, Latvia’s Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, ministers and deputies, ambassadors, etc. “Peitav shul” is a unique pearl of Art Nouveau architecture in Riga. It was built in 1905 by the renown Art Nouveau architect Paul Mandelstamm and it became the centre for Jewish life in Riga for many decades. Now this beautiful building newly renovated represents a new vision for the future of Jewish life in the city. The synagogue was renovated with money from the European Union, Latvia, various private organizations and foundations, as well private donations. On August 27th, 2009 in the newly renovated synagogue the 6th international conference “Jews in the Changing World” took place, bringing scholars together from all over Latvia and international scholars as well. From Sept. 3 – 15, 2009 Riga enjoyed the “Jewish Music Week” in what was the first Jewish music festival in post-war Latvia. It was organized by the Jewish religious community “Shamir,” Rabbi Menahem Barkahan and the manager of the Jewish Music Festival, Vita Shaldova. A concert celebrating Rosh Hashanah took place on September 10, 2009 (5770) at the Latvian National Opera. This concert was the culmination of Jewish Music Week. Seven concerts showed the full diversity of Jewish music – from cantors’ singing to folk music and klezmer, concerts for children, a dramatic performance about the Holocaust, and – for the first time in Latvia – a concert of Sephardic music. These concerts were very well attended by community members and non-Jewish friends, students and many others interested in Jewish music not only from Rīga, but from all over Latvia.

The Milk & Honey Tours team invites you to Riga in the coming cruise season!