May 17, 2007
For the first time since World War II, Estonian Jews have a place to worship and celebrate their culture. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres dedicated the Baltic country's only synagogue in the capital of Tallinn Wednesday. Members of Estonian's 3,000 strong Jewish community danced when the Torah, the prayer scrolls, were carried into the building. The $2 million synagogue was built with funds donated by a U.S. charitable foundation and contributions by Estonian citizens. Until Wednesday, Estonia was the only European country without a synagogue. Its Jewish houses of worship were destroyed during air raids in 1944 as Estonia's Nazi occupiers fled advancing Soviet forces.