Celebrating 100 Years of the Oslo Synagogue

An additional highlight I experienced during this very special week I had in Oslo was the 100th Jubilee celebration of the beautiful synagogue in Oslo. For me, personally, it was a very exciting event, and a connection of generations since my late grandfather and mentor inaugurated the synagogue in 1920 and many times, during periods when there were no rabbis, both he and my late father and mentor who were connected with the community gave sermons in this synagogue. I myself have served full or part time for almost half of the period of the synagogue's existence and now my son, Rabbi Joav, has been the rabbi of the community for over 15 years.


Just as my family is connected to this special house of prayer, there are many families associated for generations as well as new members who joined in recent years and who were well received. The survival of the synagogue after the Nazi occupation is a marvel in itself. Rabbi Isaak Julius Samuel z"l and very many of the members of the synagogue were deported to the death camps at the end of November 1942. This event was noted in a very special custom that I believe exists nowhere else. During the Shabbat closest to the date of the deportation, the entire Jewish community says Kaddish in all the prayers.


The event at the synagogue was exciting on many levels. The presence of the king and regent and many dignitaries from the government, the municipality, the heads of other religions gave a sense of very great support to the small Jewish community and gave me the honor to deliver the keynote speech. And you can see in the picture that both the king and the regent laugh wholeheartedly from one of my anecdotes about experiences I had in the past with the royal family and the community. The photo was taken from the royal family's Facebook. What is more important to me is that many of the young people in the community performed their best at the ceremony along with wonderful singing by three cantors who served here and our choir and lots of children. All under the leadership of Rabbi Yoav and the new head of the community, Ronen Bachar.








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