The ‘Finish’ Company has won the bid to refurbish the aron kodesh of the Churva Shul in Jerusalem’s Old City. An architect will accompany the project to ensure the work is done with the painstaking detail demanded by the project, in the hope of restoring the look of the aaron to its original state 100 years ago.
Pinchas Lachiani of Finish explains this is a major undertaking, perhaps the most difficult restoration of an aron kodesh ever. He explains that large quantity of beech wood is being allocated for the major project, adding the aron will be 12 meters (39 feet) high and 5 meters (16 feet) wide. The restoration will include the bima and chazon’s shtender too.
The tender demanded those competing for the job exhibit a high level of professionalism and an ability to execute the task without compromising the historic integrity of the original items. Shaul Schmletzer is the architect who is overseeing the project, and Lachiani explains that he will use all of his 30 years of professional experience to ensure the results will not disappoint.
Once the job is complete they will have to meet yet another challenge, moving it from the Rechovot factory to the Old City. The project completion is expected within 9 months.
The shul was established in the 1700s but European immigrants led by Rav Yehuda HaChossid. On October 21, 1721, Arabs burned the shul. About 100 years later, talmidim of the Gra undertook rebuilding the structure which was rededicated in 1864.
Two days after the fall of the Old City to Jordanian occupation in 1948, the Arabs destroyed the shul again. The shul once again was returned to Jewish control with the liberation of Yerushalayim in the June 1967 Six Day War. The shul has since become a symbol of significant importance.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)