Normally, it should hardly have been possible for me to enter this synagogue. However I got the opportunity. (On a more official invitation, I visited another synagogue, the “Grande Synagogue” of Paris (see previous post)).
You may have understood that I now and then do some (unpaid) “guiding” in Paris through an organization called “Parisien d’un jour” (there is also a link on my sidebar), which is part of the Global Greeter Network, working worldwide. As "Greeters" we are volunteers and to call us guides is misleading; it’s more an issue of meeting between people, walking around areas which are not the usual tourist tracks, talk about local life in general…
Recently I made such a walk with a family from Israel and they had expressed the wish to see some Jewish areas and landmarks in Paris, mainly in the Marais area (see previous posts here, here, here, here, here…). So when we passed in front of the Agoudas Hakehilos Synagogue they decided to visit it and I had the privilege to join them. We were welcomed with smiles.
This synagogue is for Parisians in general better known as the “Rue Pavée Synagogue” (Rue Pavée = the paved street; it was the first street in the area to be paved around 1450) and sometimes as the “Guimard Synagogue” as its Art Nouveau architect is Hector Guimard, the same who created the metro entrances and a number of buildings in Paris (see previous posts here and here). The synagogue was officially opened in 1914. Guimard is responsibele for as well the exterior as the interior.
Agoudas Hekehilos refers to a society of orthodox Jews, mostly of Russian origin, who commissioned and financed the building.
On the evening of Yom Kippur in 1941, the building was dynamited along with six other Parisian synagogues, restored after the war. A new refurbishing of the facade would certainly be nice.