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Jewish life in Stockholm (Sweden)

Jewish life in Stockholm (Sweden)

OHMYGOSSIP — There is no ethnic registration in Sweden, so the Jewish population can only be roughly estimated. The Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities estimation is that about 20,000 pass the halakhic criteria. Of those about 7,000 are members of a congregation. Stockholm has the largest community and boasts a primary school, kindergarten, library, a bi-monthly publication (Judisk Krönika) and a weekly Jewish radio program, but Malmö, Gothenburg, Borås, Helsingborg, Lund, and Uppsala all have Jewish communities as well.

Synagogues can be found in Stockholm (which has 2 Orthodox and 1 Conservative temple), Göteborg (an Orthodox and a Conservative synagogue), Malmö (an Orthodox synagogue) and in Norrköping (although the Norrköping community is too small to perform regular services).

History of Jews in Sweden
The first Jew permitted to take up permanent residency in Sweden was Aaron Isaac, a merchant from Germany. He came to Stockholm with his family in 1774, accompanied by a minyan of people, who also brought their families. As the Jews of Sweden were emancipated in 1870 their number had increased to 3000 through natural increase and new immigration. Communities were founded in Gothenburg, Malmö and in several other towns around the country. While immigration at the beginning of the 20th century consisted mainly of individuals or single families, persecution in Russia forced large numbers of Jews into exile. Several thousand came to Sweden.

During the thirties numerous Jews fled from Nazi Germany. The largest immigration occurred immediately after the Holocaust, when thousands of survivors were brought from the death camps. About 5000 of them remained in Sweden, although the majority left for Israel and the USA. This influx doubled the population. The political events in Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1967, and Poland 1968 led to additional Jewish immigration to Sweden. The most current group of immigrants came from the former Soviet Republic.

Jews of Stockholm today
As of April 2012 there are around 4 300 members in the Jewish Community in Stockholm.  The Jewish Community of Stockholm is a unified community, meaning that all synagogues, conservative as well as orthodox and progressive belong to the same organization. There is a Jewish elementary school, junior high school and a variety of organizations.

There are Jewish Communities in Gothenburg and Malmö as well, and we estimate that there are around 18 000 – 20 000 Jews living in Sweden today.

The main building of the Jewish Community is situated in downtown Stockholm at Wahrendorffsgatan 3 B. Opening hours 9 am to 5 pm Monday-Thursday, and 9 am to 4 pm on Fridays or one hour before Shabat. The office closes for lunch 12 am –1 pm. 

The Holocaust Memorial in Stockholm
A memorial to the victims of the Holocaust is engraved on the wall leading from the entrance of The Great Synagogue to the Jewish Community office building. It was inaugurated in 1998 by Carl XVI Gustav, King of Sweden, and lists 8500 victims, relatives of Jews residing in Sweden. The 42-meter memorial bright serves as a link between a dark past, and a future. No entrance fee. Open during weekdays.

The Jewish Library

The Jewish Library is located under The Great Synagogue on Wahrendorffsgatan 3. The library is open  Monday 2-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday 1-4 p.m.

The Jewish museum
The museum is located at Hälsingegatan 2. The permanent displays include a number of showcases, where the artifacts are presented categorically such as Torah, Shabbat, Brit Mila etc. Since its start the museum has arranged a number of special exhibitions focusing on different aspects of Jewish life in Sweden. Opening hours: All days 12–4 pm, except Saturday.

Jewish Community Centre
The JCC is located at Nybrogatan 19 in the Judaica House.

The Judaica House
The Judaica House at Nybrogatan 19 hosts various Jewish organizations. It also has a mikvah.

The synagogues
The Great Synagogue of Stockholm at Wahrendorffgatan 3 B (next to the Community offices) is an official national historical building, built in 1870 in an “oriental” style, and seats 900 people.
Services are held at the following times:
     Friday evening 6:30 pm
     Saturday 9:15 am
(The services are egalitarian, conservative/masorti.)

Tourist information
Are you planning to visit a Shabbat service? Please send in your name to at the latest on Friday before 11.00 am. You will be met by security guards, who will carry out a security check at the entrance. Please follow their instructions. Bring an ID-card in order to facilitate the security check but no big bags.  

Adas Jeschurun (orthodox)

Adas Jeschurun is situated at Riddargatan 5. The interior originally came from a synagogue in Hamburg which survived Kristallnacht in Germany 1938, and was shipped to Sweden just before the Second World War. The synagogue is situated on the 2nd floor in the building housing the Hillel School.

Adat Jisrael (orthodox)
Adat Jisrael is situated at S:t Paulsgatan 13 in a building from the 18th century renovated some 25 years ago and well worth a visit. The synagogue has a history of more than a hundred year old, and Adat Jisrael was long known as the ”poylische minyan”.


Gallery: The Great Synagogue in Stockholm, Wahrendorffsgatan 3 B
Pictures: (Helena-Reet Ennet)


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