Exclusive Pictures: Syria’s Oldest Synagogue, Destroyed by Assad - The Daily Beast:
Exclusive Photos: Syria’s Oldest Synagogue, Destroyed by AssadEliyahu Hanabi Synagogue in Jobar has become the synagogue that cried wolf, with so many previous claims of it's destruction that many of us were once again skeptical. The photo set clearly shows a Jewish building, and the arcading in the photo above is without a boubt the same as in this photo provided to the Times of Israel six months ago (source):
The Jobar Synagogue was one of the holiest Jewish sites in Syria and contained priceless historical artifacts. Now it’s destroyed—and the opposition says Assad is to blame.
Rumours first spread about a year ago that this Medieval synagogue had been destroyed, but it had turned out then to only have been badly damaged by shelling, as seen in this video fro 1.25 onwards:
Adam Blitz has been covering Jobar Synagogue for quite some time, and is equally skeptical that the Assad regime destroyed it. Whilst confirming the destruction, he points out that somethings might still be safeguarded:
Who will save the remains of Syria’s ancient synagogue? - Opinion Israel News | Haaretz:
Yet this is not the time for a eulogy. There remains the possibility that the Shrine of Elijah is safely buried metres below the debris. Equally, at some point the future, there exists an unprecedented opportunity to survey the exposed synagogue remains. For now, attention should focus on the synagogue’s artefacts and ensure that they do not leak out onto the illegal antiquities market. If we cannot ensure their safe return from rebel hands we can at least document the objects from photographic and videographic evidence and to alert Interpol, the auction and Judaica markets worldwide that these items may start circulating.Blitz will give a talk on 'What's left of Syria's Jewish Legacy' in London next week.
I can't see any information about this on the Syrian Ministry of Culture's web site yet - http://dgam.gov.sy/ - but I'm sure that in due course they will in turn blame the rebels. [Update - they have, here].
Adam Blitz and I tried to find photographs of the various Damascus synagogues last year but, given how everything seems to be available of the internet these days, we failed. If anyone has old photos of this or other Syrian synagogues, please do drop me a line at dorothy [@] lootbusters.com and I will pass them on to him - the more photos we have, the easier it would be to 'virtually' reconstruct the synagogues and try to identify items from them when they come onto the art market.
Survey of Syrian Synagogues, but these are not currently available (exhibition blurb here - although the WMF is asking people to sign a petition to save Syria's cultural legacy, releasing the photos would be a far more useful step).
Lyons took the photo to the left and the two below. The Wayback Machine failed to archive the Jobar photos, but photographs he took of several other Syrian synagogues can be found here. (These are of the Jobar Synagogue in Damascus before it was restored - hence the white arcades).
Update to show the 'interior' now: