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ROSH PINA – Restoration of Holy Ark, Habima & Prayer Leader’s Pulpit


Every time a Holy Ark arrives at my Studio for restoration, I get emotional and excited. I guess the feeling stems from the Jewish upbringing I received in Italy, but also from my professional roots. These artifacts are always ancient creations of the best artists in wood and gold. Magnificent furnishings that survived wars, natural disasters, poor maintenance, wanderings between countries, years of being forgotten in abandoned buildings and storerooms, and more ...  Yet despite all, after decades or even centuries of tribulation, they proudly carry on Jewish tradition.

I take much pride in the part I play in revealing anew the original design details, refurbishing and/or replacing parts and gilded elements that disappeared over the years and strengthening the structure and finishing materials – all with the aim that these extraordinary cultural assets will return to their  original splendour, continuing to be an integral part in ensuring the continuance of this Jewish tradition for many years to come.

Thus it was with the furnishing elements of the ancient synagogue in Rosh Pina.

In April 2022, we finalized the restoration process of the Holy Ark, the Habima, and the Prayer Leader’s Pulpit, that were designed by the renowned carpenter Akiva Drexler. Upon completion of the work, the pieces were transported back  from the Jerusalem studio to the synagogue. They were erected in the synagogue building, that during their absence, also underwent renovation in order to repair water damage that had affected the southern wall and also the Holy Ark.


About the Synagogue:

This synagogue was the first ever public building to be erected in the settlement of Rosh Pina. The original founders who arrived from Rumania in 1882, constructed this very modest building in 1885 on a location called “Knis El-Yehud”. (Legend had it that once upon a very long time ago a synagogue actually stood on the same spot.) In the middle of the 1880’s, after Baron Rothschild had given the settlement his patronage, his clerks further enlarged the synagogue – as part of their construction of additional public buildings. The synagogue became the social centre for the small population, most of whom were orthodox. In addition to regular prayers and religious festivals, it was also used for community events and even private celebrations.


At the end of the 1950’s, the upper road of the settlement was abandoned. The synagogue became disused and remained abandoned for decades. Only in the 1990’s was it finally renovated and returned to daily use. The reconstruction and restoration retained the special character of the original building, including its circular ceiling, wall paintings and original furnishings – the majority of which dated back to the First Wave of Immigration to Israel. On the western side of the synagogue can be found the original staircase that descended to the bath house below – that leads further on to the Rosh Pina Stream and the Cemetery.


Today the synagogue is fully operative and holds regular daily prayers.


The Restoration Process:

After the pieces had been dismantled and transported to the studio in Jerusalem, they first underwent in-depth cleaning and treatment to prevent mold. The next steps involved removing layers of lacquer that were not original, consolidation of rickety wooden parts and replacement of damaged or missing sections.

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