Finding again the last Jew of Sighisoara

We enter the Synagogue in Sighisoara as if it were a museum. Our custodian, jurist Eliu David Raducanu, the last Jew in town, will turn 89 this year, on October 26. He kept his intellect intact. His look, his gestures, his balanced words denote self-possession, dignity, acceptance (only apparent, maybe) of life as it is. “In 1903″, he tells us, “there were about 180 Jews in Sighisoara. The community did not develop too much, as the economic levers were controlled by the Germans. Until 1950, there was a rabbi in Sighisoara. In 1985 – when there was still a minyan –, the last religious service was held.” The synagogue, strikingly neat, is in an almost perfect state of conservation, except for one of the walls, whose lower part was affected by dampness. “I received funds from the Federation, which allowed me to ensure the good maintenance of the synagogue.” Our looks stop on the benches. The labels are intact, but the names of the parishioners who would pray here are no longer readable. “I sent all the rolls of the Torah to Bucharest”, he says, pointing to the Aron Kodes. Eliu David Raducanu likes to sit, while waiting for possible visitors, in the small room of the synagogue that once used to be the cheder. Here, he feels a little less lonely. He remembers the years he attended the Jewish school, when they would call him Erich Kupferberg, his teenage days, his wife, Erica (born Birnbaum), who departed this life much too soon, Transnystria, where they were both deported… He has two daughters; one of them lives in Bucharest, the other – in Texas… His granddaughter in Bucharest is a playwright and a theater director. Life goes on.

  • The inauguration of the Cluj Jewish Club

 

The Cluj Jewish Club was recently inaugurated. It is designed as a therapy against loneliness for the elderly, and as a cure against isolation for the middle generation. Hundreds of books were donated, which allowed for the foundation of a library. The well-known artist Egon Löwith from Cluj offered paintings with Judaic themes to the Club. Dr. Zvi Feine, manager of the “Joint” Program for Romania, endowed the Club with high performance audio-visual equipment. The first meetings (whose moderators were dr. Nicolae Kallos and dr. Gavrila Goldner) already achieved some of the intended goals: stimulating the informal contacts between the members of the community, between the Jews in Cluj and the leaders of the community, cultivating and promoting the Jewish traditions and values.

(Correspondent: dr. NICOLAE KALLOS)