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Great Synagogue of Odessa Burns to Ground, Jews Left Without House of Worship

The Great Synagogue in Odessa, Russia, was burned to the ground on Nov. 26. The Soviet Government’s Novosti news agency attributes the fire to a “short circuit in electrical wiring in Matzoh baking” facilities. First word of the destruction of the last functioning synagogue in the Black Sea port was obtained here when Soviet Embassy officials disclosed receipt of a cable asserting that a “preliminary investigation” revealed that the conflagration was accidental. Odessa has one of Russia’s largest Jewish communities. The Novosti report said that “the Jewish religious community is taking measures for restoring the building of the synagogue and ensuring normal conditions for performance of religious rites by believers.”