Synagogue on Seymour Road

Released on:2006-10-25


Jewish people not only left some names of eminent rich and influential people and some grandeur buildings in Shanghai but also some synagogues, the spiritual home of Jewish refugees and some relics which provide some materials for people to learn history.

Three famous Jewish synagogues have been written down in the history of Shanghai:the Laxier Synagogue in Shaanxi Road, Moses (Ohel Moishe) Synagogue (now renamed Jewish Refugee Memorial Hall) in Hongkou District and Ahalong Synagogue in Huqiu Road (former Huzhou Road).

The Laxier Synagogue (the international general term for the synagogue in Seymour Road) ar Shaanxi Road (former Seymour Road) now is in the compound belonged to Education Commission of Shanghai Municipality. It is surrounded with low houses so the new building in the compound seems eyecatching. The synagogue looks like a fortress of middle ages with four white marble columns standing on the two sides of the three archways. Its doors are tightly shut and people can see some black chairs and drooping screens from the windows. Since it is not open to the public it seems very quiet and calm.

It once got a fire and was also in a scene of bustling activity with cocktail parties and dances held here. During 1920s Sephardim Jewish people in Shanghai had got a rapid development economically so two synagogues were built successively by the donation of Sassoon and Hardoon. In order to commenorate his wife Sassoon, a Jewish businessman, built the Laxier Synagogue in 1920 and then it became a place to hold religious activities. Another Jewish rich businessman once established a Jewish school in this area. The Ahalong Synagogue built by Hardoon was torn down in 1985.