The Synagogue

The Synagogue of Cherasco is located in an 13th century building in the area of the old Ghetto. Like all synagogues built before the emancipation, it was located on the top floor. This position is not arbitrary but instead reflects the observance of an ancient precept that states that nothing shall be built above a Synagogue.

Today access to the 18th century Synagogue is from Via Marconi, through one of the various entries to the old Ghetto. A small stairway leads to a hall with a ritual fountain. There is a marble plaque above it, commemorating its donation by the De Benedetti brothers in 1797.

The stairway continues up to the small women’s gallery, screened off by a simple wooden screen.

Rectangular in plan, the prayer hall is illuminated by four large vertical windows along the South and East walls. They were originally covered by curtains, and crowned by inscriptions in Hebrew, framed with floral decorations.

These Hebrew inscriptions continue along all of the walls closed within floral frames. There are four noteworthy 18th century, wall mounted candlesticks with mirrors that served to amplify the light.

Also dating to the 18th century are the wood chandeliers suspended from the blue and white plaster ceiling. high-backed wooden benches, perhaps from the 17 th
century, are arranged along the walls.

The floor is composed of black and white tiles. There is an alms box beside the entry door. In the center of the room is the octagonal Tevah with baldachin, in sculpted and painted wood.

The Tevah of Cherasco is simply decorated; the baldachin, supported by slender and simple twisted columns with Corinthian-like capitals, is not particularly elaborate.

The Aron Hakodesh, also in sculpted wood, is more intricate in design. Positioned at the center of the east wall of the room, it is flanked by twisted engaged columns from which flames emerge, and surmounted by a small round stained glass window.

Three twisted engaged columns decorate the Aron doors that delineate the form of the Tablets of the Law. Both of the pieces date to the end of the 18th century

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