France / Alsace

Obernai

Old Synagogue of Obernai

9 Rue de Sélestat, 67210 Obernai, France

Synagogue of Obernai. Photo by Ondrej Zvacek – Wikipedia

Traces of the old Jewish community can still be seen in this charming tourist town.

On ruelle des Juifs, an arched doorway with an engraving in Hebrew signals the entrance to the old synagogue, dating to 1454.

On rue du Général-Gouraud the voussoir of an arch bears the Hebrew date 5456, corresponding to 1696 C.E. In the porch, note the two blessings hands carved in stone with the inscription “The master, rabbi Samson, the Cohen”.

Long the walls of the synagogue, you will observe the vestiges of a Jewish community house built circa 1750 with traces of the Holy Ark and altar. The hammered lilies recall that the French kings protected the Jews of Alsace (in the courtyard, an image reproduces the place of worship). When the  old synagogue became too small, it was deconsecrated in 1876 and replaced by the neo-Romanesque one still in use today.