Jerusalem’s local paper YEDIOT YERUSHALAYIM stated in it’s latest edition that the Great Synagogue is deeply in debts. Donations are hardly coming in and, in the past, a lot of money was wasted by the people in charge. Leading members or managers spent, who knows how much money, for their own private purposes. They supported themselves as well as their relatives. Now these people may be taken to court.
Why I hardly ever go to the Great Synagogue? The last time I was there was last Erev Pessach. As far as I remember, Rabbi Chaim Adler was the Chazan and I went to hear him. Afterwards I wanted to go to the Chabad Seder taking place at Heichal Shlomo. The building right next to the Great Synagogue.
When I arrived for Ma’ariv, I saw a Chinese tour group spread out and this is what really gets me. Within the past decade or so, the Great Synagogue has turned into a tourist place where a Jew is hardly able to pray. Gentile tourists are streaming in and out. Then they don’t understand what is going on. Being bored, they start talking and making a noise until they finally leave making even more noise.
A second reason: All the posh American Diaspora Jews. They stay at the hotel around the corner or across and come with all their jewellery. Arrogant and thinking that the place belongs to them. However, in the end, everyone leaves and the rich don’t even leave a Shekel. 🙂
YEDIOT YERUSHALAYIM mentions broken Synagogue seats, leaking pipes and that the place is basically falling apart. There is no money left to fix anything and it could be the case that the Great Synagogue may be privatized.
My only concern is that Christian missionary groups could step in and provide all the money. These missionary groups are rich and grab as many Jewish institutions as they can get.