Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Dike Synagogue in Sliedrecht, NL

Sometimes we hear/read about something and decide to follow it up...just like you, I'm sure.  In this case, our new-found friend, Janny, told us about the monthly open house for De Dijksynagoge in Sliedrecht (of all places, where Astrid happens to work) this past Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 p.m., 18 km from home.

So, it was a no-brainer.  We put it on the calendar and went on Sunday.

It's the only synagogue in the world built on a dike.
In fact, Astrid heard it's the only synagogue outside of Jerusalem built on a mound.
It was built in 1845 but was dismantled and rebuilt in 2002 when the dike was reconstructed.
It was moved 80 meters west from it's original spot.  Leave it to the Dutch, as I always say!
(Pay attention to the horseshoe hedge in the back on the lower level.)

Can you see how bright the space is?
And how gezellig...the English word is "cozy" but it's more than just cozy.

You immediately notice the important things...even though I don't know what they're called.
For me, this would be the "altar."

And the "pulpit," plus the menorah (lampstand) and the "light."
Astrid found out the menorah was made by our woodcarver friend, Adrie Bezemer
from a 1000 yr-old piece of oak wood.

And yes, there is even a wee balcony from which you can get an overview.

From there I could better see the skullcaps all men were required to wear.
There was even a grab-bin in the lobby for visitors who didn't have their own.

Back out in the lobby we took the stairs past the Star of David down to the ground floor.
(That piece of broken plaster exposing the brick means it's "never finished"
until the temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt.)
Remember, this synagogue is on a dike, so the back floor is below the front entrance above.
That's where the  museum is.

I can imagine how proud the Dutch Jews are of these artifacts.

The backdoor off the museum takes you to the garden inside the horseshoe hedge.
Everything grown there is mentioned in the Bible, with names and verse locations.

Totally worth the experience and most educational.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

It so happens you can see the 1886 Sliedrecht water tower from the synagogue.

And there were plenty of weathervanes in the area to make me happy,
including the second cat vane I've seen within two weeks.

It was my 71st birthday the next day, Monday, so let's just say I was a very happy camper.
As you know, it doesn't take much!


  1. Such a great post. I love the history, the beautiful building and religious items you observed.

    Thank you for sharing your visit.

    1. You're welcome, Marie, of course. These are the "little things" I want to make sure I keep recording from here where we live!

  2. Beautiful and charming. And that unfinished tradition, that is so cool.

    1. Thanks, Sister. I always love these tidbits of info we get along the way. In this case, I kept thinking of the phrase, "Next year, Jerusalem!"

  3. So interesting! Glad you two checked it out so you could share with us!

    1. Thanks, Robin. I do this for us to remember these things, of course, but am so glad we can share them with you from afar.

  4. Often I passed this building, never knowing it is the Synagogue. What a history is in this building and I am glad that the two gentlemen were there to explain some the things we saw. Great set of pictures again. We had a great afternoon, very close by ;) IHVJ

    1. I have loved "getting my education" in these wee outings so near us. We are so very lucky!

  5. I have never been to a synagogue. I don't even know where a synagogue is around these parts, so it's such a special treat to see the interiors. How incredible that it's open for visitors.

    1. I was in the same position in America, Maria, never seeing them or entering them. But here in Europe we have had the chance to see several...lucky for us.

  6. What a charming building. It is old as you say but the colors are very modern. The faithful there must take very good care of it. What an informative trip for you. Thanks for sharing it here. And then you saw all the pretty weather vanes. All of this and only 18 km from your home or 11 miles or so! If I drive 11 miles I’ll be in Dallas, in Paulding County, GA. Don’t think I’ll see that type of building … or weather vanes. I might see the statue of a Confederate though (and several flags….)

    1. Everything I see here in the Netherlands seems very close to us, Vagabonde, even though to the Dutch 200 km away seems like the end of the world. HA! Remember the "200 years vs. 200 miles!" YUP. You know how fortunate I feel about living here in Europe, in spite of all the turmoil these days. But the turmoil is everywhere, isn't it?! One hardly wants to think ahead to the "what ifs" of our future, but we plug ahead, day by day, to do and think the best. God have mercy on us all.