Wednesday, April 1, 2009
A weekend in Medias
At one point while we were working in the synagogue, an adolescent boy walked in off the streets, noticing that the door--which is usually locked--was open. He looked around, admiring everything he saw with a sort of distant bewilderment. His face that told you he wasn't really sure what to make of the unfamiliar surroundings. "Is this some kind of church?" he asked, adding, "it must be very old."
In fact Medias's synagogue was built in 1896, which isn't so long ago in the grand scheme of things. However, that young man's ignorance/curiosity illustrates just how forgotten and marginalized Romanian-Jewish history has become. This particular synagogue has been vacant since sometime in the 1970's, perhaps even earlier. Every surface on the interior was covered in thick layers of black dust, and the floors were strewn with old prayer books, photographs and documents, hastily stowed and obviously neglected for ages. In a way, it was like time had frozen there, which was eerie, not to mention sad. It was our job to clean the place up a bit, to sort through everything and salvage what we could.
Check out the photos below. You can click on the slideshow to access the photo album.