Beit T'shuva

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Beit T'shuva is a synagogue also known as "Birobidzhan's old synagogue." The structure, located in the Russian city of Birobidzhan, is a Siberian-style wooden house. The Jewish community is led by Rabbi Boris "Dov" Kaufman. As of 2005, religious services have been strictly Jewish and no longer include a blend of Christian and Jewish traditions as had past services.[1][2][3]

In 2010, the Christian Science Monitor reported that, "Nowhere are the ties between Jews and non-Jews here clearer than in Birobidzhan's tiny second synagogue, located on the outskirts of the city. It is Sabbath and it could be a 19th-century Jewish village were it not for the phone in the corner. The building is no more than 40 paces long, with low ceilings and a tin roof. A dozen mostly middle-aged parishioners sit on benches, a simple curtain separating men from women. The rabbi, Dov Kofman, an affable man who walks with a cane, says when the ceremony is over: "I love Israel, my son is now there serving in the army, but this is my fatherland." Suddenly a non-Jewish neighbor stops by to say hello, sitting down on one of the benches. An engineer by training, Yevgeni Stolbov oversaw the construction of most of Birobidzhan, and is now retired. "I love coming here, I would do anything to help this synagogue, it's part of my life and want to see it here forever," he says as his friend, the rabbi, looks on with a smile.[1]


  1. ^ Dickey, Lisa. "Birobidzhan - Back to the Synagogue", "Russian Chronicles", The Washington Post blogs, September 12, 2007.
  2. ^ Nettleton, Steve. "Emigration to Israel empties 'homeland' for Jews contrived in the Stalinist era", Exodus from the east, CNN, 2001.
  3. ^ McMahon, Colin. "Jewish Republic Struggles to Retain Identity", Chicago Tribune, April 7, 2001.

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