Bucharest Jewish Heritage Tour

Tour Highlights

  • The Holocaust Memorial
  • The Great Synagogue & The Holocaust Museum
  • The Bucharest Jewish History Museum
  • The Choral Temple
  • The Yeshua Tova Synagogue
  • The Bucharest Askenazi Filantropia Cemetery or the Bucharest Sephardic Giurgiului Cemetery
  • The Bucharest Jewish Theater

A Short History

The Jewish community used to be the largest minority community in Bucharest.
Bucharest jews are mentioned for the first time in a rabbinical correspondence dating back to the 16th century. The first documented evidence of a jewish presence in Bucharest, from 1550, names 8 jews, two of whom, Isac Rufus and Habib Amato, ‘have a shop’.
In 1930, 69.885 jews lived in Bucharest, representing 11% of the population.
The events of the Second World War and then of the emigration to Israel caused a great drop in the jewish population. Today it stands at less than 10,000 jews. In the place of the old jewish center today stands Bucharest’s commercial center. Even still, some of the houses are reminiscent of those that once stood in that area. A state-run jewish theatre continues to show productions today.

The synagogues and cemeteries of Bucharest

In Bucharest you will find 3 synagogues and two jewish cemeteries. The first cemetery, on Giurgiu street, is Sephardic – for those who are descended from the Spanish jews, expelled from Spain by the Alhambra decree of 1492:

“… they are the oldest jews in Bucharest and they eternally represent the culture and refinement of their countrymen”

The second cemetary, on Mihalache Boulevard is of the Ashkenazi rite. The word ‘ashkenaz’ signifying a German name in medieval hebrew, refers to those jews of German descent, who spread Yiddish through northern Europe.

The Tour

Visit the Romanian Holocaust Memorial – unveiled on Thursday, October 8, 2009, in Bucharest.

The monument is a five-sculpture ensemble – “The Column,” “Via Dolorosa,” “The Roma”s Wheel,” “The Star of David,” and “Epitaph” arranged around a central memorial precinct.
The programme for the creation of a Romanian Holocaust Memorial was initiated in 2006 upon the recommendation of the International Commission for Romanian Holocaust Studies, known as the Wiesel Commission, after talks with public luminaries, officials for the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, men of culture and artists as well as Holocaust survivors.

holocaust memorial ( adela )

We will visit the interior of The Great Synagogue & The Holocaust Museum.

THE GREAT SYNAGOGUE ( ADELA )

The Great Synagogue was raised in 1845 by the Polish-Jewish community. It was repaired in 1865, redesigned in 1903 and 1909, repainted in Rococo style in 1936 by Ghershon Horowitz, then it was restored again in 1945.

Visit to the exterior of the Choral Temple (currently being renovated)
B UCHAREST CHORAL TEMPLE  (PHOTO BY SHELDON KATZ)

This is certainly the most important Bucharest’s synagogue , it dates back from 1856. The Temple as it appears today is the result of an interior and exterior reconstruction in 1933. The Choral Temple is one of the precious few Romanian synagogues whose architects are known. A rich decoration to the interiors including lavish furnishing and lighting, add yet more to the grandeur of the temple.

We will visit the interior of The Jewish History Museum in Bucharest.

This is located in the former United Holy Temple synagogue, which survived both World War II and Nicolae Ceausescu unscathed.

the jewish history museum ( adela )

The name has several variants, including The Museum of the History of the Romanian Jewish Community. The museum gives broad coverage to the history of the Jews in Romania. Displays include an enormous collection of books written, published, illustrated or translated by Romanian Jews; a serious archive of the history of Romania and collection of paintings of and by Romanian Jews.

We will visit inside The Yesua Tova Synagogue

yeshua tova synagogue ( adela )

Located downtown from 1827 and totally renovated in 2007, this is the city’s oldest synagogue. It still serves the local Jewish community.

We will visit The Jewish Theatre. This theatre has a tradition of 120 years in Romania. We will visit the Theatre and tour the interior.

THE JEWISH THEATRE ( ADELA )

Jewish theatre in Romania has a tradition dating back 130 years. Documents show that in 1876 the writer and artist Avram Goldfaden started the first professional Jewish theatre in the world, in a public park in the Romanian town of Iasi. A few months later, Goldfaden moved with his theatre company to Bucharest.

A very important aspect of the activity of the Bucharest Jewish Theatre consists in initiating and organizing international workshops and festivals of great scale. In 1991 and 1996 our Jewish Theatre organized and participated in the first two editions of the INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF YIDDISH THEATRE in Bucharest.

In Bucharest there are 2 big Jewish Cemeteries : the Filantropia Askenazi Cemetery and the Giurgiului Sephardic Cemetery .

Visit the Filantropia Jewish Cemetery in Bucharest

This is the cemetery of the Ashkenazi, inaugurated in 1865. Graves of the Romanian Jewish soldiers who died during the First World War can be seen in this cemetery.

askenazic cemetery bucharest 2

Visit the Giurgiului Sephardic Cemetery

giurgiului cemetery ( adela )

Tour Details

The car:


Your English speaking guide and driver : Eduard Popescu

  • Price for 2 persons participating to the tour : 150 euro
  • Price for one participant : provided on request
  • Price for more than 2 participants : provided on request
  • Price for big groups( minivan and coach ) : subject to negotiations

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*Transportation and all fees included.
*English speaking guide / driver services .
*Entrance fees where applicable .
*In the price does not include synagogue donations .
*The participants will receive a free DVD with the Synagogues of Romania and promotional materials .