Or Hatorah is the only synagogue of its kind in Israel and in the world, and is a work of art through and through. Responsible for this magnificent building is the manager of synagogue affairs, Zion Badash, Acre municipality honorable person, who for the past 60 years has been planning and designing the synagogue, inspired by the bible, Jewish history, the holocaust and Zionism.
Zion Badash is the person who made the synagogue a popular and fascinating tourism site. This synagogue is one of a kind: its walls, both indoors and outdoors, are covered with art works in mosaic; mosaic floors as well as millions of natural stones brought from the mountains of Eilat, the Timna copper mines, the mountains of Galilee, Jerusalem and the Golan heights. Approximately 140 meters of Stained Glass windows surround the synagogue. Each window depicting bible stories and important events etched in the DNA of the Jewish people led by the Holocaust. These are accompanied by drawings of landscapes, fish and birds of the land of Israel. Zion Badash is a Holocaust survivor who immigrated from Russia in 1951 directly to Acre where he started to build the synagogue deriving his ideas from Jewish holy and literary sources. According to him every old synagogue was adorned with mosaic. The mosaic was and is created for the synagogue by the mosaic plant in Kibbutz Alon. Built on an area of a half a dunam (about 226 acres) the synagogue comprises four stories. The first floor houses the seminary and the reception hall. The seminary is open every morning when Lessons of the Torah (the scriptures) are given. The reception hall hosts Bar Mitzvahs, Circumcisions, pre/aft wedding Sabbath celebrations and wedding ceremonies.
The second floor houses the magnificent and impressive synagogue, where Shabbat and holidays prayers are held. The synagogue emulates the old synagogue on the island of Jerba in Tunisia, considered, according to Badash, as the oldest synagogue in the world. At the heart of the synagogue stands the Ark with the scrolls of the Torah. A magnificent curtain (Parokhet) protects the Holy Ark, holding some very old of the scrolls. In the middle of the synagogue there is a central stage with three entrances symbolizing the Jewish nation’s three forefathers.
The third floor houses the women’s gallery, which some maintain is the most beautiful in the world.
The space leading to the fourth floor, the roof, is dedicated in its entirety to the Holocaust and to Heroism. This is the largest of a total of 11 works of art dedicated to the holocaust in the synagogue.
The construction of Or Hatorah synagogue has been going on for thepast sixty years according to plans and design made by the manager of the synagogue, Zion Badash, the living soul behind this extraordinary place. This person lives and breathes each and every one of the millions of stones depicting Jewish history from the days of the bible to our days. Since he began building and designing the synagogue Badash had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren born; still he is here every day and meeting him is an unforgettable experience.