RUSSIA - Synagogue Opened in City of World’s First Nuclear Plant

Arno Froese

A synagogue has opened for the first time in Obninsk, a city near Moscow that was built in 1945 to accommodate the staff of the world’s first nuclear power plant.

Around 400 Jews, including some from Moscow seeking to move out of the city, make up the city’s Jewish population, according to the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia. The nuclear plant had many Jewish employees and some of their families stayed in the Obninsk area.

The Obninsk rabbi, Aron Golovchiner, told that the synagogue will begin by holding only Shabbat services and will expand to weekday services if the community demand increases.

Separately, the European Commission announced it would fund a restoration of the 18th-century Great Synagogue of Raskov in eastern Moldova. 

The Polish government has also decided to fund a synagogue restoration project in the town of Krzepice, situated about 120 miles southwest of Warsaw, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. 

The 200-year-old building deteriorated into disrepair and was given over to the municipality after its previous owners died, the newspaper reported. The synagogue of Krzepice is situated near the local Jewish cemetery which has the largest collection of cast-iron headstones in the world, according to Gazeta Wyborcza., 7 October 2020

Arno's commentary

The city once home to the world’s first nuclear power plant, will now get its first synagogue. Interestingly, the only time the word “synagogue” appears in the Old Testament is in Psalm 74:8: “They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.” This Psalm by Asaph laments the destruction of the sanctuary. Destroyed by Soviet communism and burned by Germany’s Nazis, the old ruins testify of their former glory. Now, European contributions aim to see the synagogues restored.

This reminds us of Luke 7, where the Roman centurion asked Jesus for help: “And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant” (v. 3). Quite apparently, he believed Jesus was who He said He was. He testifies: “Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed” (v. 7). Then Jesus praised his faith: “When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (v. 9).

It is often said that the Jews hated the Romans, but in this instance, verse 5 shows it was not the case: “For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.”

May those be blessed who continue to bless the Jewish people.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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