The Guardian

Plan to save Europe’s synagogues receives high-profile backing

Simon Schama, Howard Jacobson and Natasha Kaplinsky among supporters of campaign to protect Jewish heritage
Slonim synagogue in Belarus, where relatives of newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky worshipped before the Holocaust. Photograph: Handout

Its gothic twin turrets and stained-glass window featuring a six-pointed star look out from a hillside over a town in south Wales. A Welsh dragon decorates the building’s gable. But rooms that once resonated to the murmur of prayers and readings from the Torah are abandoned; windows are broken, plaster is crumbling and the roof is open to the sky.

But now the Old Synagogue in Merthyr Tydfil, built in the 1870s, could be reborn. It is part of an extraordinary scheme – to be launched this week by the historian Simon Schama – to map more than 3,300

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