Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and his deputy Eliezer Rauchberger have signed the occupancy permit (tofes arba) authorizing use of a new building, for the largest synagogue in the world, the Ger beit medrash on Yirmiyahu Street in Jerusalem.
The enormous structure covers 35,000 square meters (377 thousand square feet), with the newly built wing occupying 12,000 square meters (130 thousand square feet).
Ophir May of the Jerusalem municipality oversaw the progress of the construction, which complies with the highest safety standards. The ceremony of signing the permit was a modest event that took place in the mayor’s private office, with Mayor Lion handing the permit to MK Yaakov Litzman, the Knesset representative of the Ger Hassidic group, and Rabbi Yohanan Weitzman, a Gerrer representative who sits on the Jerusalem city council.
“There aren’t many mayors who go around with the knowledge that they signed the permit for the largest synagogue in the world,” said Mayor Lion. “This is a truly historic occasion. The Ger Hassidic group is a cornerstone of Jerusalem and we are delighted to have finally reached the finish line with such success. Mazel tov, Gerrer hassidim, mazel tov!”
Rabbi Rauchberger, who is also the head of the Jerusalem council’s construction and planning committee, noted that, “A construction project of this scope is something that Jerusalem has never seen before in recent history. We incorporated every conceivable safety feature and took into account the long-term goals for the building as well. I had the merit of accompanying this project for the duration and I am delighted that together with the representatives of Ger who were in charge of this project, we have reached its completion in minimum time with maximum splendor and beauty.”
“Three generations from now, Gerrer hassidim will enter the main Gerrer beit medrash and still remember which mayor it was who signed on the occupancy permit for this project,” added MK Litzman. “I would like to thank the mayor for all the assistance he provided for this project and in general, and may the great merit of this mitzvah stand in your stead and bring you success in all your work for the benefit of the community.”
Rabbi Weitzman added, “Throughout the construction process, both the mayor and Rabbi Rauchberger and their team of experts made themselves available whenever the need arose, from the weightiest questions to the tiniest of details. I have no doubt that we would not have been able to complete the project with such success without their continual assistance. Thank you!”