113-year-old Ukrainian synagogue damaged by Russian shelling — local reports

Photo of building shows large hole in one of its walls; top Ukraine rabbi urges condemnation from world leaders of ‘criminal act’

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Illustrative: Screen capture from video of the Ukrainian city of Huliaipole, May 2022. (YouTube; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Illustrative: Screen capture from video of the Ukrainian city of Huliaipole, May 2022. (YouTube; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A Russian shell struck a 113-year-old synagogue in the eastern Ukrainian city of Huliaipole, damaging the building, local media reported Tuesday.

A photograph of the damage, which was shared by the city’s historical society, showed a large hole in one of the building’s brick walls.

“The city continues to be destroyed daily. The destruction of the historical part of the city is catastrophic,” the group said.

One of Ukraine’s chief rabbis, Moshe Asman, furiously condemned the strike on the synagogue.

“In a normal world, it should be accepted that holy places are out of bounds, but even this agreement has been violated by the Russians. I expect leaders of the world to fiercely denounce this criminal act,” he said in a statement.

MK Ze’ev Elkin, who immigrated to Israel from Ukraine, also denounced the strike, noting that his family originally hails from Huliaipole and used to pray at the synagogue.

“How sad and infuriating. Striking holy places and houses of prayer, even during war, is an event that must be condemned clearly and we must demand that it not occur again,” Elkin said in a tweet.

Other synagogues and Jewish sites in Ukraine have also suffered damage during the fighting since Russia launched its invasion of the country in February last year.

Ukraine’s largest synagogue, the Choral Synagogue in Kharkiv, constructed in 1909-1913, suffered blast damage in March 2022, when a Russian missile hit a nearby shopping center, the UK’s Jewish Chronicle reported at the time.

Two weeks earlier, another synagogue built at around the same time was hit by shelling.

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