The opportunity to restore the Synagogue in Kobrin has presented itself. The project is being led by Yuri Dorn President of the Jewish Heritage Research Group (JHRG) (www.jhrgbelarus.org) based in Minsk. Funds have already been raised for the first phase ($10,000) which involves securing the property with a fence and removing overgrown brush.
JHRG has met with Rabbi Avraam Benenson-Chief Rabbi of Union of Religious Jewish Congregation of Belarus, Rabbi Chaim Rabinovich- Rabbi of Brest, Yuri Kaplan-The Head of Kobrin Jewish Community and Galina Burdyko Vice-Mayor of Kobrin. The common opinion is that this building can be used simultaneously for two purposes:
- A Place where local Jews can gather together to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays;
- Create a Holocaust and Jewish history museum of Kobrin and surrounds, which can be visited by tourists, local residents and students as a part of schools curriculum.
This is a two story building with an addition, which was once used as a boiler-house, to heat the main building. The total area of the building is 1,067 square meters.
According to Yuri Dorn the cost of the renovation will be determined after the preliminary architectural design is completed.
The preliminary estimates are:
|1. Architectural design||$ 30,000-40,000|
|2. Exterior renovation (roof, front and back of the building, landscaping)||$ 120,000-150,000|
|3. Interior renovation||$ 250,000-300,000|
|4. Repair or replacement of utilities||$ 25,000-$30,000|
|Total cost estimate||$425,000 -$520,000|
For your convenience, we accept PayPal donations (via the Donate button at the top of the page). Checks payable to AFBJ Charitable Trust may be sent by postal mail to:
AFBJ Charitable Trust
5512 A Sutton Lane
Willoughby, OH 44094
American Friends of Byelorussian Jews (AFBJ) Charitable Trust is registered with the state of Ohio under Section 501 ( c ) (3), of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. All contributions to this project will be fully tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
AFBJ will act as the fiscal agent and will oversee this project. All drawings and designs will have to go through a Building Committee that will check the Halachic, legal and engineering side of any project before approving the transfer of funds. All contributions to this project will be fully tax-deductible for United States taxpayers.
This project will have some unique challenges. The Kobrin City officials are requiring that the exterior work be completed by 2009 because the Belarus President Lukashenko will be visiting Kobrin then.