It is believed that the first synagogue or the house of prayer in Nish was established in 1695, the same year to which written records of the Jewish Community date back.  

In the same year, Rahamim Naftali Gedalja, a sagacious and energetic man, who was credited by significantly contributing to the religious, spiritual and cultural life of the tiny Jewish community in Nish , had been appointed to the Rabbinate of Nish . It is believed that he had his Yeshiva, a school for Talmudic studies, where generations of religious Jewish youth were subjected to religious upbringing. He held his post for sixteen years and is believed to have been buried at the Jewish cemetery of Nish.  

The first synagogue was built and consecrated in 1801 during the rabbinate of the already mentioned rabbi.  

During the Turkish era the Jewish part of the town occupied the stretch between the two wooden bridges across the River Nishava. The Turkish authorities who had approved that this district be established called it Chivutana the Jewish settlement. It had its yeshiva, synagogue, rebbis home, a bath for religious worship and a number of single level homes. The entire Jewish district burned down in the great fire that gushed through it on August 15, 1879.  

At the end of 19th century the large synagogue ''El Kal Grande'' and the small synagogue ''El Kal Chiko'' are known to have existed on David Street . It was also established that there were eleven scrolls of talmud torahs, nine in the large temple and two in the small one. At the beginning of the 20th century one of the torahs was announced as unfit for use.  

After the end of WWI it was decided to build a new synagogue because the old one was almost falling in. However in the meantime the old temple was somewhat refurbished and it served its purpose for many more years.  

In April of 1924 the construction of the new synagogue was initiated. Its cornerstone was festively laid on May 18,1924. However, the explosion of a German bomb a remnant from the time of war interrupted the building. The Jewish inhabitants of Nish financed the construction works of the synagogue situated at 2 David Street in the heart of the Jewish religious district. People think that Jasha Albala from Belgrade was the architect entrusted with this work, although some other people hold that Milan Kapetanovic and Victor Azriel both architects from Belgrade had built it. The synagogue was spacious with an open gallery for women. In spring of 1925 the synagogue was completed and only then the old synagogue could be pulled down. 


Rabbi Abram Daniti states about the Jews of Nish, ''They have always been very pious and the temple and worship were their primary concern. They would spend much time in yeshivas, where they read religious books and listened to discourses which have helped them to preserve a rare piousness until today.''  

Above the portal of the synagogue and next to Magen David who stood there one could read,

''This is Gods door righteous come on in.''  

Until WWII the synagogue served its purpose. During the war Germans used it as storage, while after the war it was not used at all. No one of Jews who had lived there before had returned home. Until 1948, Mayo Mevorah did the custodial work in the synagogue. After his departure to Israel in 1948, the building was shut down.  

In 1970, the Jewish Community was compelled to sell the building because it would have been expropriated for not being used. On a certain condition that same year the synagogue was sold to the National Museum of Nish . The National Museum was to meet the following obligation: They promised to take good care of the building, to use it exclusively for cultural purposes and to place a memorial plate honoring Jews who had lived in the community and had never returned to their homes.  

Because of its architectural and historical significance the building was put under the protection of the state in 1986.  

In the fall of 2001, the renovation of the dilapidated synagogue has started.  

The work on the exterior of the building was finished in 2003. The continuance of the interior reconstruction requires additional funds.


At this time so ''maimed'', the synagogue awaits better times.


J. Ciric

President of the Jewish Community of Nish













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