User:Ehrlich91/The “Beit Yakov” synagogue

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The “Beit Yakov” synagogue is the only extant synagogue in Skopje. In the past, it was located in the Jewish neighbourhood  in Skopje. Today, it is active again after it was reopened in 2000. It is located today in the premises of the Jewish Community in Macedonia.

The new “Beit Yakov” Synagogue was consecrated on 11th March 2000 in the building of the Jewish Community in Macedonia. Service is regularly held in it  for the important Jewish holidays in the Jewish calendar. The synagogue is built and furnished according to the customs and traditions of Sephardic Jews and belongs to the Sephardic Orthodox synagogues. The windows are decorated with beautiful stained glass with motives from Jewish cultural life. The parokhet (curtain), made in 1937, which adorns the holy closet,  the Torah Ark , or “Aron Kodesh” – the closet in which the Torah is placed- is the same one which decorated the closet in the old synagogue in Skopje. It was built with financial donations from the Government of Macedonia, JOINT, Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, Temple Beth Israel, as well as from donations from the Jewish diaspora and Israel. With the rebuilding of the synagogue the Jewish religious life began again. However, there is no regular service for Sabbath.

In the Jewish historical museum in Belgrade there is a very significant manuscript, called  pinkas, which was kept in the Jewish municipality in Skopje in the “Beit Yakov” synagogue from 1749 to 1913. It was written in a combination of Hebrew- Ladino in Rashi – a cursive script. The content deals primarily with the humanitarian-religious communities in Skopje, the synagogue, “Hevra Kadisha” the Jewish organisation, and “Bikur Holim” the Jewish Law. The manuscript also mentions statutes (haskame) with which the payment of expenses to the members of the municipality were regulated. It also mentions that the above-mentioned organisations regularly donated money, food and clothes for the poor, especially to widows and orphans. We also learn that records were kept about travellers from Palestine who arrived in Skopje to gather donations for the Holy Land. The significance of the manuscript is that it provides information about the economic condition of the Jews in Skopje, their social work, as well as, for their relationship with other ethnicities and Palestine.