History

Hechal Shlomo was built in 1958 in order to serve as the spiritual and religious center for the Jewish people and the Chief Rabbinate.
In 1946 Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Yitzhak (Halevi ) Herzog (1888-1959) bought land in Jerusalem with the wish of building the Seat of the Chief Rabbinate. The British Jewish philanthropist, Sir Isaac Wolfson, shared this dream and facilitated the construction of Hechal Shlomo. In 1955 Sir Isaac Wolfson established the Wolfson Foundation, a charity that awards grants to support excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health, education and the arts & humanities.
Architect Dr. Alexander Friedman (1935-1980) designed the building. He also designed amongst others, the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, Yeshurun Synagogue and The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem.
The Renanim Synagogue, in Hechal Shlomo, is a small synagogue of singular beauty lavishly decorated in 18th century Italian style. For over 300 years it served one of the communities of Padua. With the dwindling of the Jewish communities in northern Italy, and the immigration to Israel, the synagogue was transferred to Hechal Shlomo where it now serves an active community and is open to the general public.
Hechal Shlomo houses the Wolfson Museum of Jewish Art, with a unique collection of Jewish ceremonial art. The Museum is presently undergoing major conceptual and physical changes: a unique museum center is being developed which will provide an active learning experience to help the visitors learn, feel and understand the commitment of the Jewish people and the meaning of Jewish life. It will combine museological elements, educational strategies with the latest technologies.
The building includes an auditorium with 500 seats in which lectures, seminars and performances are held. A variety of cultural activities take place in Hechal Shlomo: concerts, theater performances, lectures, seminars for junior high and high school on the significance of the Holocaust in Jewish spiritual life, guided tours in the Museum, activities and workshops on Jewish art, study groups and learning sessions on the Bible, major ceremonies and more.

History of the building