Riga Jewish Community

Riga Jewish Community is the heart of Jewish life in Latvia and the largest Jewish community in the Baltic States – it consists of approximately 8000 members.

The history of the Riga Jewish Community began in 1988, when Latvian Society for Jewish Culture (LSJC) was founded in Riga. It marked the beginning of the revival of Jewish social life in Latvia after decades of prohibition and oblivion of the Soviet era. In 1993, LSJC was reorganized into the Riga Jewish Community (RJC). Nowadays, the Riga Jewish Community is a member of the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia.

Activity of the Riga Jewish Community is mainly aimed at preserving and promoting cultural heritage of Latvian Jews, supporting youth movement and educational programmes, helping low-income members of the community, as well as at promoting social integration.

Chairman of the Riga Jewish Community is Arkady Suharenko. Deputy Chairman – Benjamin Kajem and Dmitry Krupnikov.

Contacts

6 Skolas Street, Riga, LV-1010
phone: +371 672 85 601
e-mail: jews@jews.lv

Executive Director Gita Umanovska
phone: +371 294 52 273

Historical background:

Riga Jewish Community, which undoubtedly is the heart of Jewish life not only for the capital, but also for the whole country, is located in a historic building at 6 Skolas Street, which was initially constructed as the building for Jewish club. Its construction began in 1913 in accordance with the design created by famous architect Edmund Trompowsky, and was continued in the early 20s by Paul Mandelstam – one of the first Latvian architects of Jewish origin. In 1926, a troupe of the Jewish theatre began performing in this building. In addition, this house hosted various Jewish community organizations and a library. Jewish holidays, weddings, lectures, concerts and meetings were also held there. In 1940-1941, the theatre was one of the few Jewish organizations which were not liquidated by the Soviet regime.

However, in 1941-1944 the building hosted various institutions of the Nazi occupation authority. Later, during the Soviet era, the building at 6 Skolas Street hosted the House of Political Education, which held numerous ideological events, including Communist Party conventions.

In the early 1990s, this historic building, which is an architectural monument protected by the state, was handed over for use to the Latvian Society for Jewish Culture (LSJC). Nowadays, the building hosts structural units of the Riga Jewish Community (RJC) – “Hesed” social service centre, “Jews in Latvia” museum, library and “Ariel” career development centre, as well as various Jewish organizations. It is also a place where creative teams conduct their rehearsals and hobby clubs hold their sittings. Members of the RJC gather at the community house to celebrate Jewish holidays, but concerts, performances, exhibitions and lectures can be attended by anyone. The building also hosts “7:40” cafe (entrance from Dzirnavu Street).