2008 | 7 | 94-101
Article title

RASHY-TYPE SYNAGOGUES IN LATVIA (Rashy tipa sinagogas Latvija)

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The hypothetical architectonic type of the First Temple in Jerusalem due to be reconstructed; the oldest synagogue of Germany - Worms Synagogue; synagogues and prayer houses in Ludza, Rezekne, Daugavpils and elsewhere in Latgale. The common element of these three worlds and important facts of Western European and Latvian history of art and spiritual life are under scrutiny in this article. Although the Temple and the synagogue have different functions, historical reception of the Temple secures a sort of architectonic similarity, maintaining the link of meaning between the Temple and synagogue in the form of allusion. The article stresses that Rashy-type synagogues in Latvia are most related to a certain religious trend - Hassidism. This is not so much the question of stylistic purity related to the religious trend but rather that of the self-determination of a particular religious community and relations between the synagogue and Christian stylistic paradigm, avoiding, for example, Gothic as the most pronounced style of Christian sacred architecture. These and related questions, analysed in a wide cultural-historical context, make up the problem-oriented part of this research. Rashy synagogues as a type are explored in relation to the Worms Synagogue erected by first German Jewish community. It is the necessary prime example needed to analyse subsequent models. The problematic nature of this fact of cultural history is created not just by the circumstances in which the prime example had arrived in Latvia but also by the reconstruction of the historical fact: elucidation of conditions in which synagogues were constructed and inclusion of their style in the cultural-historical town planning. All this is usually connected with ambivalent situations. The very schematisation of 'synagogue style' historically implicates the issue of Jewish identity.
  • Iveta Leitane, no data
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