A series of videos about the work of European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative. The ESJF project has begun the process of physically protecting Jewish burial sites in Europe, most particularly in places where Jewish communities were wiped out in the Holocaust. Moreover, it has identified resources, limitations, costs and general practical models in order to provide a prototype for a sustainable, practical and efficient long-term project with its core objective to protect and preserve all the Jewish cemeteries in Europe.
Crowdfunding video aimed at raising funds for the restoration of The Great Maharsha Synagogue. The Great Synagogue is a monument of Jewish sacral architecture in the former Jewish quarter in the Ostroh, Rivne region. The Great Maharsha Synagogue in Ostroh, which was built in early 17th-century, remains a powerful place of Jewish history and memory, heritage and religious life of the largest and most influential Jewish communities of Volhynia. At least it was so until the World War II. The building was damaged during the Holocaust and then used as a warehouse under the Soviets. By the beginning of the 21st century it became a vulnerable ruin, in which was difficult to recognize the former spectacular historical record, an authentic built fabric, and elaborate and meaningful design that was aimed to serve as a pattern for synagogue architecture in Europe among of other, including the Great Ashkenazi and the Portuguese synagogues in Amsterdam as well the Great Suburban Synagogue in L’viv. The vault, overgrown with trees, began to collapse, and the walls were spray-painted by vandals. The building has become a garbage depot. Stagnation lasted until 2016. With the help of local enthusiasts, the process of restoring the Great Synagogue was launched. Decoration left after the warehouse were dismantled and more than 150 tons of garbage was removed from the territory. The vault above the bimah was restored with an original brick in authentic brickwork. The western pediment and east facade have been restored. The greatest amount of resources has been spent on the restoration of the roof. Performing a protective function, it nevertheless corresponds to the main task that the activists set for themselves by restoring the authentic look of the Great Maharsha Synagogue as it looked in the early 20th century, with the women's section in the northern annex and the western extension to which the baroque pediment will be relocated.
The project is one of the winners in “Small towns – great impressions” competition, that got financial resources on its realization (158 applications from all over Ukraine and only 8 winners). Tatar tower is one of the three barbicans (a type of defensive structure), that still remain in Ukraine. It was built in the 16th century and in the 19th century was partially destroyed. Within the “Art Barbican” project surrounding area of the tower will be beautified and the Barbican will be preserved to prevent its further destruction. Also, scene and installation will be placed to demonstrate the profile of the tower, as it was before its destruction. The goal of the project is to prevent further destruction of the architectural monument and to attract tourists to the object that was never a part of tourist route of the town.
“Ostroh: in the Shadow of History” is a full-length documentary film about the complex history of a small regional center of the Rivne region. This film is a portrait of one of the ancient city, which surprisingly combines the past and the present, the ruins and innovation. The film's protagonist, Anatoly Helenyuk, talks about the city of his youth, about the city where his parents were living, by the combining of his own emotional experiences with the objective facts of history. In fact, Ostrog's story consists of different stories, forming lace of voices, styles, monuments, and photographs. Through careful examination of each of these elements, Ostroh is opening in front of us as with its own advantages and disadvantages, with traumas and sorrows. This film tells the story of the majestic clan of princes Ostrozhsky, who were patrons of the Ukrainian Oxford – The National University of Ostroh Academy. This university is full of intellectual and spiritual energy as well as indefatigable students. At the same time, we see archival footage when Ostroh overcame the injustice of historical challenges against the power of authorities. Comments and memories of the founders, politicians, historians, philosophers and ordinary residents of Ostroh are other semantic layerings of the city. All this reveals to us a city that has frozen in time and space. Ostroh has its own aura, people while demanding attention and care, like every living being with body and spirit. The project was implemented by the students of The National University of Ostroh Academy with the support of the administration of the university and the Ostroh Historical and Cultural Reserve