History of the Dieren Synagogue
On our outdated English website you will find more about the history of the Dieren Synagogue in English. Recent information however you will find on this page.

Newsletter Autumn 2011

In Dutch "No News means Good News" is a saying.
It is obvious that the frequency of our newsletters has become less. This doesn’t mean nothing has happened. On the contrary.


Activities are announced as much as possible on our website and also mentioned in different ways.
Situations about "De Dierens Sjoel" work out according to plan and we are very happy about that. The Synagogue is a perfect place for the Liberal Jewish Community Gelderland, where services take place.
Besides the services there are several cultural activities and we have some tenants on a regular basis.

Since last summer we have some new members of the council. This has to do with the departure of our secretary, Joop de Graaf, but we are coping quite nicely.

Financially we still have to struggle, but thanks to gifts and initiatives for contributions on the occasion of the birthdays of Selma Goldstein and Tons Katzenstein we are doing better.
We are able to meet the recurring expenses, for instance energy bills, and we are grateful for all the gifts.
Not only happy occasions, but also other situations, can be of help financially. Ellen Marie Vogel decided, on the occasion of her demise, to nominate the Sjoel in her inheritance.
We are very thankful to her and keep the memory of her lovely person in our hearts.
We appreciate her sweet gesture immensely. We will spend her money with most careful responsibility and concern, of course.

On the 5th of June 2011, we had to say goodbye to our secretary Joop de Graaf , because he and his wife move to Israel. We will miss him dearly, but we wish him and his wife Onny a beautiful future in Israel close to one of their children and family. Joop dida lot of work as a secretary and later as chairman of the building committee.
We needed more than one person to fill in the gap he left behind. In the council we now realize ourselves how much work he did visibly, but most of the time invisible. We are lucky to be able to find people to take over all the work and we welcome them with great pleasure!

Friend of De Dierense Sjoel.

We welcome the Friends and we had our first official Day on the 19th of June!
The organization is in the hands of Hans Mul, Eric Boers and Siem van den Berg.
The Raad van Kerken gave us a present on this remarkable occasion: a Figtree. Of course we will take care of this precious gift!

We need more friends. If you want to become one please go to the website "vrienden" for more information.

"Open monumentendagen"

On the 11th of September the Sjoel was open for visistors.
The theme this year was "New Custom, Old Building". The official opening was in our Sjoel. The school: "De Boomgaard" paid us a visit that same morning.

Cultural events on Sunday

In co-operation with De Alliantie and bookshop Jansen and De Feyter we set the dates on the
23rdof October,15thof January, 19thof February, 18thof March, 15thof April, 13thof May.
On the 23rd of October : Paul Hellman , time 15.30
On the 15th of January : Saskia Goldsmith, time 15.30


High Holidays ( Rosh Hashanah and Jom Kippoer) have taken place in September and the beginning of October.
We wish you Shanah Tova, a good and sweet New Year, 5772!

Newsletter Spring 2011

A great party took place in the Dierense Shul. Annemieke Hoogerbrugge and Pieter Bolder married at th 18th of February. The first civil marriage on this special location. We hope many will follow.

Two out of three cultural activities on a sunday afternoon have
already taken place. We organise them together with De Alliantie and bookstore Jansen and De Feijter.

The concert on the 6th of March of The Amsterdam Chamber Group was a
huge succes( more than 90 visitors!), With the highlight the premiëre of Jeff Hamburg's "Jacob's Ladder".( see for more information the impression on the website by "Mijlpalen, video's") At the 17th of April we could welcome CAROL LINSSEN with his performance of Dylan Thomas's "Under Milkwood".
About 60 visitors enjoyed the clever interpretation of this poetic masterpiece.

Things are moving smoothly at Spoorstreet 34. Actually this statement could be enough. But to us it seems a good idea to give you an impression of the following activities on the program for the next couple of weeks.


At the 8th of May Judith Herzberg reads from her own work of literature at 15.00 hours.

Organisation: De Alliantie, Bookstore Jansen & de Feijter and the
foundation of De Dierense Shul. Presail: Bookstore Jansen & de Feijter, Velp; reservations by email: dealliantie@hetnet.nl

The Consonants and Klezmore

Many things happen in De Dierense Shul:
14 of May, 19.00 hours Jiddish Choir "The Consonants and Klezmor",
more information at www.klezmore.blogspot.com
La Rosa Enflorece, Hebrew and Sephardic songs and klezmermusic.
Admission ticket 7,50 Euro's


At the 20th and 21rst of May Dieren's theatre company TROEP, plays:
DWAAS by John Patrick.
The Convent is a home for vulnerable people with psychological problems. They are offered a save haven from the insane outside world. The outside world's insanity enters into the walls of the Convent when Mrs. Ethel Savage becomes a new inmate. She was put thereby her stepson and - daughter, who are afraid, she will waste the family fortune. Ethel has made a fund for offering a chance to people who like to go astray once in their lifetime.
After all every human being has the right to one foolishness in his life, isn't it? The children have a better destination for the family fortune: their own money wasting lifestyle.

Reservations by mail at: reserveren@theatergezelschaptroep.nl or at
telephone number 0313-496595 Admission ticket 8 Euro's per person
For more information: www.theatergezelschaptroep.nl

Newsletter winter 2011 ,
Highlights and activities

The first year is behind us
On the 16th of January, precisely one year ago, we had our first official try- out service in the Dierense Sjoel.
Many highlights passed by:
- the official inauguration on the 7th of march
- the marriage of Ralph Levie and Irene Faber on the 23th of may
- the High Holidays in our own Sjoel.
- Our meetings with the Christian church in Spankeren, the Roman Catholic church in Dieren, the Mosque in Dieren ( young people from this Mosque took the first initiative!). These meetings were very inspiring and performed in an enthusiastic atmosphere.

These highlights were important but next to these wonderful happenings it became obvious that our Sjoel is an attractive place for other occasions.
We had tours, steady tenants, meetings by management teams and committees and even the planning of a civil marriage.

Thanks to our managers Teun Teunissen and Herman van Mansom things run smoothly. They offered not only to be managers but also were prepared to take care of coffee mornings and tea afternoons, during special occasions. We are very happy with that!!

We have some work to do about financial planning but it looks rather optimistic. Thanks to several generous gifts and tiles sale the account looks better. ( gifts were made on the occasion of the 60- year marriage celebration of the Mol family and on Doris Blom, Riet and Michael Mendel and Manja Pach’s birthday parties). We like to thank everybody for their contribution.

Cultural activities:
In November we had the Amsterdam Shtetle Band, a marvellous performance.

Wizo Gelderland and The Convent of Churches organised together the ‘Day of Judaism’. We had an introduction of our rabbi Marianne van Praag and a performance of the cabaret Kwatsch.

13 of February: Grims Papieren Theater ( paper theatre) and Paul Hindemith’s sonata for flute and piano ( Desirée Kamp and Joop de Graaf)

The ‘Alliantie’, foundation for art and culture, Rheden , Bookshop Janssen and De Feyter and Foundation the Dierens Sjoel took the initiative for three cultural Sunday afternoons:
-6the of march, The Amsterdam Chamber Group
-17th of april, at 16.00 hour, lecture by Caro Linssen: ‘Onder het Melkwoud’, Dylan Thomas
-8th of may, Judith Herzberg, reading from her own work.

Board change
One of the founders of our “Stichting de Dierens Sjoel”, Joop de Graaf and his wife are leaving us and planning to move to Israel to live with some of their children. We shall miss them very much!! Joop’s position in the board will be taken over by Ed Bosch. Hans Mul will join too. We are very happy to welcome them!

Future plans
-Continuation and consolidation of our policy, care for harmonious, balanced exploitation, management and financial situation.
-Preparation of the second phase in building operations.
-Ongoing money funding operations!

January, 2010 — An Emotionally Moving Weekend

The weekend events began Friday afternoon, January 15th when Bram van Gelderen, the former president of the LJG Gelderland, fastened a mezuzah of his own design at the entrance to the reception hall.

Saturday, January 16th was an historic moment. One hundred and twenty-six years after the original synagogue dedication and 67 years after the last religious service was held there, the synagogue was again filled with LJG members for a Shabbat morning service. The same Torah passage was read as the one read at the dedication on January 22, 1884 (Shemot, 9.1-35).

"How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gateway to Heaven" (Genesis 28.17, the text that decorates the arch above the old entrance door) reverberated afterward. It was the first tryout of the new space, but the design and construction flaws were fewer than expected. There was much admiration for the exceptional achievement of the architect and contractors; a light-filled yet intimate building that provides space for 90 individuals at full occupancy. It is possible to add some folding chairs, but then it is really very full.

On Sunday, January 17, the Jewish television network in the Netherlands gave generous attention to the Dieren synagogue restoration with an extensive interview on-site with Manja Pach.

The first public assembly in the Dieren synagogue on that same afternoon proceeded very well. In the framework of the Dieren Council of Churches' "Day of Judaism," the LJG Gelderland organized a program at the synagogue with the Council. Jochanan Belinfante gave an introductory presentation on the theme: "Synagogue—House of Assembly," followed by a discussion in small groups and continuing with a panel discussion with Manja Pach, Jochanan Belinfante, Henk Boonen and Henk Janssen. We hope and expect that more inter-religious dialogue will take place in our synagogue.

The Green Tile Drive
The New Year of the Trees (Tu Beshvat) offers an occasion to give a "green tile" and thereby contribute to the planting and landscaping directly surrounding the Dieren synagogue. On the evening of January 30, LJG Gelderland celebrated one of the four New Years on the Jewish calendar, that of the Trees, with a traditional Seder meal, following the form of the Seder that is held on the evening of Passover. On Tu Beshvat, trees are planted in Israel while in the Diaspora, symbolic tree-planting is accomplished through contributions designated for that purpose.

Festive Rededication: March 7
The preparations for the official festive rededication are in full swing. We would like to welcome everyone at the same time, but given the dimensions of the building that is not possible. The program for the afternoon is as follows:

From 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm a short afternoon service, followed by a reception for invited guests.
From 3:30 pm on, open house: festive reception, music and light snacks.

Gustav Mahler
The Association of Friends of the Gelderland Orchestra is organizing, together with the Foundation for the Dieren Synagogue, a Mahler afternoon on April 24 with musicologist Kees Wisse. Details available (in Dutch) at www.vriendenhgo.nl.

And as always...
You can make us happy with your financial support. On the website you will find, besides the tile project, a wish list. Who will sponsor a chest, a curtain, a folding chair, the vacuum cleaner…? Or one of the other things for which the treasurer has no money in his budget?

European residents can contribute to the account of the Stichting De Dierense Sjoel either at the ING, account number 3369846 or the Rabobank, account number 130870668.

North American residents should send their contributions to the World Union for Progressive Judaism, (WUPJ), 633 Third Avenue, Sixth Floor, New York, NY 10017 with a notation on the memo line of their check, "Friends of the Dieren Synagogue". Contributions sent to the WUPJ are tax-deductible charitable contributions.

English translation by Eston Gross, February 6, 2010, email: es.gross@comcast.net

November 2009 — The synagogue is ready!

On Monday, November 23 2009 the restored synagogue in Dieren was handed over by the building contractor. (To view a video clip of the event, please link to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKQi-XZaQtw). After a construction period of seven months and one week, the shul on the Spoorstraat in Dieren has a bright shining face. The old part (the original synagogue and the Jewish school) under the inspiring leadership of architect Geert van Veersen has been restored so beautifully that perhaps the original builders would not recognize it (or would they?). Behind and attached to the old building a glassed-in reception area has been constructed. This is the new entry to the synagogue. Also located in this new space: a small kitchen, rest rooms, and room for technical equipment.

The Board of the Foundation the Dieren Synagogue is very proud of the "child" of their labors. We thank not only the architect but also the prime contractor Hulshof, the sub-contractors, all the fantastic building tradesmen and the advisors for all their expert endeavor.

A very special thanks goes to the building project leader, Arend de Winter. His contribution to the success of our project is of inestimable value.

Furnishing, moving, bringing into use (transition)

And now proceeding further: furnishing the interior, moving the LJG property, bringing the synagogue into use (by the LJG) and (re)dedication.

In the coming weeks, the synagogue will be furnished. The chairs and the drapes have been ordered, the transfer of the religious objects owned by the LJG that are now in the Eltheto building in De Steeg will be organized, and planning for the actual takeover of the synagogue by the LJG is in process.

The new text arch (with the original text) is now ready to be mounted above the original entrance to the synagogue. In former times, the text arch hung above the front door of the synagogue: however the lettering on the arch had been lost. Fortunately with the help of archival materials the lettering could be reconstructed.

In this video clip, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZU7tYZSk3c, you can see how Dirk Kerkhoven with great skill has painted the original Hebrew text upon the new text arch. The words translated as "This is none other than the house of God; this must be the gate of heaven" come from Jacob (Genesis 28:17) after he was awakened from a dream which left a deep impression on him.

Beginning in the middle of January 2010 religious services will be held in the Spoorstraat synagogue on a test basis to identify and correct any startup problems. The festivities to accompany the opening are planned for the weekend of March 5-7, 2010. We hope at that time to welcome many of our friends (though not every one at the same moment). We will send out further information as soon as possible with precise details about this event.

...and what does a synagogue like that cost?

A lot, take it from us. Always more than you think. But thanks to the unceasing financial oversight by our cost-watchers, we have stayed within the estimated building budget. Nevertheless out treasurer still looks concerned; there still remains a small shortfall in the investment amount and the related loan must be paid off. Besides this, the exploitation of the building (for alternate uses) provides new challenges. Fundraising thus remains high on our agenda.

Sponsorship of tiles

Those who would like to sponsor or donate a tile will have to move quickly! There are at this moment 38 tiles yet available (and the price remains the same at Euro 30). Who will get the last one? Sponsor a floor tile!

The Board is considering a sequel to this successful action.


As soon as the building is taken over by the LJG, cultural activities will also be organized. Currently in preparation is a gathering, together with the Council of Churches, on the afternoon of January 17 in connection with "The Day of Judaism". More information about this program and about others in the planning stage will follow as soon as possible.

Gifts and Donations, North American Residents

Residents of the US and Canada who wish to support the Dieren Synagogue restoration should send their contributions to the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), 633 Third Avenue, Sixth Floor, New York, NY 10017. On the memo line of the check, contributors should be sure to write, "Friends of the Dieren Synagogue" so that it is identified by the WUPJ staff as destined for the Foundation’s Dutch bank account. Contributions sent to the WUPJ are considered by the IRS to be tax-deductible charitable contrtibutions.