During the Soviet era, the synagogue was seized and used by the Odesa Pedagogical Institute’s faculty of physical training. The prayer hall was transformed into a gym, and its height was halved by an intermediate floor. The arched lateral openings were blocked and classrooms were built in the balconies.
In 1996, the synagogue was returned to Odesa’s Jewish community. Rosh Hashanah 1996 marked the first time in decades that Jewish people gathered within the synagogue.
In the years that followed, the structure underwent profound reconstruction. A mikvah (a pool used for ritual purification) was introduced and a bimah (pulpit) was reinstalled. Quotidian prayers are currently held here, as well as festivals that attract hundreds of worshipers.
The Central synagogue houses the office of Odesa Region’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Baksht, the “Ohr Sameakh” weekly newspaper and “Ohr Sameakh” TV. The library offers an impressive selection of books and films on Jewish culture, history and traditions. Regular seminars on Judaism are hosted in the library, and the knowledgeable English speaking staff is on hand to answer any inquiries.
Open 07:00 - 19:00. Closed Sat.