The second largest synagogue in Europe is located in St. Petersburg, Russia. We just had to see it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The place was bustling with members, visitors, and Hebrew School students.
The Grand Choral Synagogue of St. Petersburg is absolutely one of the most gorgeous temples I have ever seen. We took a lot of pictures so you can see what’s going on. It was built between 1880 and 1888, and consecrated in 1893.
.The Chief Rabbi of St. Petersburg is Menachem Mendel Pewzner. Today the Great Choral Synagogue of St. Petersburg is a registered landmark and an architectural monument of federal importance. The main hall holds 1200 and has women’s galleries on three sides.
In 1999, the Grand Choral Synagogue received a $5 million donation from the Safra family for renovations. The Synagogue was renamed The Edmond J Safra Grand Choral Synagogue in honor of the donation. Some call it the Russian Bolshaya Sinagoga (“The Grand Synagogue”).