In the Slovakian town of Trnava, restaurant manager Robert Sajtlava claims that his employer preserved the memory of the Jews that once lived there by transforming a 187-year-old shul into the Synagoga Cafe at the cost of millions while preserving its ornate ceiling, the magnificent aron hakodesh with its luchos, a Mogen Dovid in one of the windows and the original pushke with the word tzedokah over its slot, JTA reported.
In 2013, Krakow’s Chevra Tehillim Shul was turned into a nightclub and later into a bar whose interior design reflects its Jewish past.
In 2012, Warsaw saw the opening of Mikveh Bar, a bar with a transparent floor covering the building’s former mikveh, and a 207-year-old shul in the Dutch city of Deventer is being transformed into a restaurant that will reflect the building’s previous function.
According to the London-based Foundation for Jewish Heritage, of 17,000 shuls that existed before World War II, only 3,318 have been located and only 762 still function as shuls.
Others are used as funeral parlors, swimming pools, art galleries and whatever else entrepreneurs think up.