In this city so crowded with religious symbols, where houses of worship vie with one another to render the religious past visible, no synagogue bears more symbolic weight than the one called the Hurva, in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.
Just days ahead of its March 15 rededication ceremony, finishing touches still were being applied to the synagogue, once Jerusalem’s grandest, which had remained in ruins for six decades. The rebuilt Hurva, made of the white stone that is Jerusalem’s vernacular material, had already assumed its former prominence in the city’s crowded skyline. Only interior details remained to be done.
Early this month, as the Israeli architect Nahum Meltzer looked on, a whorled woodwork crown covered in gold leaf was hoisted to its perch atop a two-story holy ark. The ark, which stands beneath the building’s gleaming 82-feet-high dome, is a nearly exact replica of the original that stood on the spot more than 150 years earlier, encapsulating the basic principle that guided Mr. Meltzer’s reconstruction: not innovation, but historical accuracy.