It’s an ill wind that blows wind that blows no one any good.
A furor erupted after pictures of a young woman posing in her underwear appeared online amid the ruins of a disused synagogue in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta.
“Scandalous.. Is the Synagogue in Constanta a monumental building left to collapse….now (to be) turned in a site used by photographers for taking photos?” wrote Maximilian Katz, the head of the Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania organization on Facebook.
“In any other country in Europe, such a building would have been long ago restored. Why not in Romania?” he said.
The pictures circulating on social media show a lingerie photo shoot inside what used to be the Great Synagogue of Constanța, reminding people of the state of disrepair of the building, once considered an architectural jewel.
The synagogue opened its doors in 1914, on the site of an earlier synagogue erected in about 1870. The architecture has a Moorish influence, and the worship area is divided into three naves with traditional Jewish decorations
It had serviced the small Jewish community of Constanța into the 1990s but fell into disrepair as the community shrunk.
However, following the reaction about the photo shoot, the representative of the Jewish Community in the Romanian Parliament Silviu Vexler confirmed that restoration works will start soon, financed by the Jewish community and the government.
The photographer, identified by the Info Sud-Est website as CvRshoots, told the news site that he had obtained permission from some workers in the area. He pulled the photos offline following protests, JTA news agency reported.
The Jewish Community of Constanța, which owns the building and recently hired an asset management company that is supposed to renovate it, also protested the building’s use for the photo shoot, Info Sud-Est reported Tuesday.
Before World War II, there was a thriving Jewish community in Constanta, of doctors, lawyers, engineers, writers and economists. The city now counts just 60 Jews out of a total population in Romania of 6,200.