Malakhovka, Russia - A synagogue with a dramatic history has been reopened in the Moscow Region town of Malakhovka five years after burning down, the chief rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, said on Wednesday.
"Malakhovka has always been a place where orthodox Jews lived, and G-d always wanted them to receive a place to pray," Lazar said.
"This was a center of the religious underground, a Jewish cultural center and Jewish children's home," a spokesman for the synagogue said.
"Jews in Malakhovka were repressed by the Soviet authorities simply because they wanted one thing - to hand on to their children their way of life, inherited from their ancestors,"
The synagogue was built in 1932 with money from Jews living in Malakhovka and nearby Tomilino. The synagogue, built on land belonging to Jewish activist Noah Alterman, was officially registered as a shed because it was impossible to launch a religious organization during the years of Soviet rule.
A year later the building was expropriated by the authorities and Alterman was shot after being charged with anti-Soviet crimes. Despite this, Jews continued to meet and pray secretly in the synagogue.
In late 1970s, Jewish activists repaired the synagogue and eventually, on 1 March 2005, it was returned to the Jewish community. However, the synagogue burnt down later the same year.