Dutch Jews Fume Over a Plan to Turn a Historic Synagogue Into a Restaurant
JNS.org – Jews in the central Netherlands city of Deventer are outraged over a plan by a Turkish developer to turn a historic synagogue into an eatery.
According to local media reports, developer Ayhan Sahin recently bought the 1811 Moorish-style structure, which has been declared a national monument, and has asked the municipal authorities to repurpose the building.
The building, still known as the Great Synagogue of Deventer, was ransacked when the Germans invaded during World War II and all but ceased functioning as a Jewish institution after the Nazis exterminated the local Jewish community.
The synagogue was resurrected in 2010, when a small congregation known as Beth Shoshanna began holding services there.
The building was sold to a local church several years ago because the Jewish community could no longer afford to maintain it. The church eventually sold it to Sahin.
Sahin told the local daily De Stentor that the planned restaurant “would appeal to a lot of people.” He said he would allow the local Jews to continue to worship there if they rented the space.
Tom Furstenberg, one of the leaders of the Beth Shoshanna community, said it would be “scandalous” if the idea was given a green light, as this would crush the hopes of restoring the site.
Other historic synagogues in the country have been bought by local nonprofit organizations that have subsequently turned them into museums.