Netherlands > Utrecht: (New) [Springweg] Synagogue of Utrecht inauguration ceremony medal, 1926; struck in bronze; by Dirk Scholtus (not maker-marked); size: 41.5mm; weight: 27.2g.
Obverse depicts the 'old' Utrecht Synagogue with dates of its operation below (1849-1925).
Reverse depicts facade of the new Springweg Synagogue with its Gregorian (19 December 1926) and Hebrew dates of inauguration: the transliterated Hebrew month of "Teiseis" is 'Tevet'.
The 'old' Synagogue commemorated on this medal was established within a former Mennonite Church originally purchased by the Jewish community of Utrecht in 1796, but due to funding shortages the property was merely employed as a Synagogue until the then 'new' one was built there in 1849.
As the community grew that Synagogue became too small and in 1925 it was closed in favor of a new building designed between 1924-1926 by the Dutch-Jewish architect Harry (Hartog) Elte Phzn (who designed several Synagogues in Holland and perished in Theresienstadt); Elte was a trained cabinetmaker and also designed the Springweg Synagogue's wooden Ark. The 'old' Synagogue was torn down but the Springweg Synagogue functions to this day.
As accounts of Synagogue inaugurations are not frequently documented a few available details are mentioned here (as published by "The Homeland" - 'Uit Het Vaderland' - newspaper on 21 December 1926): among those in attendence during the inaugural ceremony were Dr. H. Th. Jacob, the Commissioner of the Queen in the province of Utrecht, the Mayor of the city, Dr. Fockema Andreae, Lieut-Col. du Vijn of the 1st Field Artillery Regiment and local commander, and the President of the Synagogue Mr. J. Hamburger. Dr. Jacob gave a brief word of congratulation; Dr. Andreae pointed out that the completion Synagogue in general and for the Jewish community in particular was an important occasion; a Mr. H. Elzas offered on behalf of the committee of the congregation bronze chandeliers and chairs for the Synagogue.
A Mr. M. Schaap, the oldest member of the congregation, expressed gratitude to the President for his dedicated service during his tenure of twenty years, and presented to him a "gold medal, on the one side an image of the buildings of the congregation before and on the other side of the buildings as they currently are" (eg. identical to this bronze medal). Several people then offered gifts for the new building and Chief Rabbi Tal spoke a few words of joy on the occasion of the inauguration. A special prayer service then followed, along with a sermon by Rabbi Tal. In UNC except for a minor nick on the obverse (lower corner of the building image), with lacquered surface; Polak-71.
מילות מפתח: מדליה מדליות בתי כנסת כנסיות יהודיות יודאיקה יודאיכה הולנד