Chassidic Sadhora — Restoration Works & Jewish Cemetery

Marla Raucher Osborn, Jay Osborn, Christian Herrmann

Sadgora-5A significant and historically important seat of the 19th-20th century Chassidic movement, Sadhora (Polish: Sadagóra; Romanian: Sadagura; Yiddish: סאדיגורא Sadigora) located 6 km outside Chernivtsi city was 90% Jewish before WW2.

For the last several years, the rabbinical palace has been undergoing extensive renovation, in fits and starts. Today, manned with a crew of ten to a dozen workers on a daily basis, it is finally within two months of completion and opening to the public.

Our international group of volunteers working in the Chernivtsi Jewish cemetery led by organizer Christian Herrmann was treated to a rare look inside this work-in-progress. We were guided by Moishe who is also lead contractor on the project. He explained that the plan is to open the site for services, prayers, meetings, and visitors, with an eye toward next building a mykvah and (hopefully) also renovating the adjacent rabbi residence, standing today as a ruin but still beautiful, a fine example from the Austro-Hungarian Empire era of Bukovina. Moishe’s plan is for the rabbi’s former residence to become a hotel for pilgrims and visitors as well as a functioning yeshiva.

It was only a few years ago that the rabbinical palace was without a roof. Weather sadly took its toll and the few remnants of decorative interior wall paintings that still existed disappeared. Without interior photographic documentation, Moishe and his crew cannot replicate what the rabbinical palace once looked like, but they are working to create a new space that is sensitive to the spirit of this historic site.

Afterward we walked to visit the Jewish cemetery of Sadhora, which also shows recent renovation inside the large ohel and entrance gate. Regrettably, the cemetery itself is very very overgrown as goats are no longer tending to the growth. Unlike most of the Jewish cemeteries across nearby Galicia, the destruction of Jewish cemeteries in Bukovina was nowhere near as complete as the area was under Romanian occupation.

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