One of the largest synagogues in Eastern Europe was inaugurated in Máramarossziget, Romania

Hundreds of members of the Hasidic Jewish community came to the ancestral homeland in Romania from America and Europe for the event. Construction of the complex, including a synagogue, Jewish school, kosher kitchen, canteen, and prayer hall, began in 2017, with the costs largely covered by the Hasidic Jewish community in New York. 

The Satmar rebbe, Rabbi Áron Teitelbaum of Satu Mare, told Digi24 news television that recalling the memory of his grandfather, who was born in Máramarossziget, he decided to build the synagogue here. Most of the guests attending the consecration of the complex arrived at Satu Mare Airport via a special flight on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Satu Mare Airport was not prepared to receive such a large aircraft, but airport operators borrowed a staircase from Cluj-Napoca Airport so that the passengers, arriving straight from New York, could disembark the plane. 

Agerpres news agency quoted Daniela Onita Ivascut, deputy mayor of Máramarossziget, as saying that

with this event, the Hasidic Jewish community, with roots in Satu Mare and Máramaros, gives an example of remembrance, solidarity, respect for ancestors, and unity of faith. 

According to the newspaper Szatmári Friss Újság, the Hasidic Jewish community considers Máramarossziget, with a population of about 37,000, to be a sacred city. As the portal stated: The city’s great synagogue was built in 1778 and then rebuilt in 1836, but the building was set on fire in 1944 by the retreating German army. The now handed-over building complex was built in the place of the former large synagogue. 

The city on the banks of the Tisza River was home to some 10,000 enthusiastic Jews, a community that was destroyed in World War II. Most of Máramarossziget’s few Holocaust survivors moved out of the city. Nobel Peace Prize-winning writer Elie Wiesel was a native of the city and had been deported from there as well. 

A book about Jewish heritage in rural Hungary has finally been published  – Neokohn