Interested in Jewish history and culture in Moldova but don’t have the opportunity to travel there? The Jewish community in Moldova recently launched an online Jewish museum — the “On the Trails of History” Virtual Museum of Judaica in Moldova. [Note: as of 2019, this was no longer online — Ed.]
It includes a wealth of digitized photographs, documents and Judaica items, as as well as images of tombstones and Jewish cemeteries, art objects and curios, videos, books, and more.
Work on the project took place in 2013-2014. The aim, according to the Jewish community, was: the creation of the electronic catalogue of the Judaic objects from regional centers of the republic, developed in accordance with state and European standards, with user-friendly interface for saving and rendering to the younger generation of the rich Jewish heritage of Moldova.
The project team carried out on-site research in Soroca, Balti, Tiraspol, Rybnita, Orhei, Chisinau and the villages Rascov and Ciuciuleni.
In implementing the project, the Jewish community cooperated with other institutions such as the I. Manger Chisinau Jewish Library; the historical museums of the cities of Balti, Soroca, Chisinau, Bender, Rybnita; the Holocaust museum in the ORT lyceum; the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Moldova; the Chisinau Jewish Community Center KEDEM; the National Archives of the Republic of Moldova; the web-portal www.oldchisinau.com; and the Republican Volunteer Center, as well as private family collections, experts, Jewish schools and volunteers.
The Jewish community also maintains a physical museum in Chisinau — the Jewish Heritage of Moldova Museum — which was reopened in December 2014 after its exhibition was revamped and reorganized.
The museum is located in KEDEM (the Kishinev United House of the Jews in Moldova), Chisinau’s Jewish community, cultural and welfare center, which opened in 2005. The museum is located in a historical part of the campus, originally built in 1835 as the “Lemnaria” (wooden or wood-cutters’) Synagogue, so named because of the wood shops and stockpiles around it. Until the Choral Synagogue was built in 1913, it was the largest synagogue in the city. It was nationalized in 1940, and though returned to Jewish ownership decades later, by that time only the facade and basement remained of the original structure.