The synagogue, which was built in 1895 in an eclectic style, is located in Oni, on 53 Vakhtang VI Street; it is Georgia’s third largest synagogue after the Great Synagogue of Tbilisi and the synagogue of Kutaisi. It also is the oldest functioning synagogue in Georgia. In 1991 a big earthquake took place in Oni which destroyed the smaller synagogue and damaged the big one. Jewish organizations, JDC and former president Eduard Shevardnadze, all collectively helped renovate the big synagogue. Its style is Historicism Neo-Moorish, the construction material is limestone, it is in fair condition but currently it is inactive. On November 7 of 2006 the synagogue was given a category of the national real cultural monument out of which national status was given by the president of Georgia, while the cultural status – by the “Ministry of Culture and Sports of Georgia”.
The Lailashi Synagogue was built in the 1860s and was active until the 1970s. Its construction material is stone but the condition of building fabric is poor. The community of the Synagogue is Georgian Jews but at the moment it is abandoned. The Synagogue was used as a regional Synagogue and it kept the Lailashi Bible from the 10th century. It has a status of cultural monument given by “Ministry of Culture and Sports of Georgia”.
There were two Jewish graveyards in Lailashi, but only one remains active nowadays. Jewish Graveyard, which is 100 years old, is located between the village of Ghu and Lailashi. Currently, the cemetery is not fenced, but it is well maintained. The Jewish inscriptions on the tombstones are readable. The cemetery has been inactive since 1975, but several Jews were buried here from Kutaisi in the 1980s.
Lailashi is a village in Georgia, Racha Lechkhumi and Svaneti. It is a center of Temi and is located at the south-west bank of the watershed ridge of the rivers Lajanuri and Askistskali. Lailashi has long been known by the Georgian Jews living there according to historians in the beginning of the twentieth century, more than 1,200 grown-up Jews lived there. In 1976 there were 50 Jewish families living in Lailashi. In this village the Lailashi bible was discovered, hence the mention of its name in the title. It’s interesting that nobody knows how the book ended up in the village. We have already discussed the cultural importance of this discovery.
There are two graveyards in Oni. One of them is located at the end of Baazov Street and the other is an older cemetery, which is located a little further away, and it is covered with plants so it is no longer even visible. The Jewish Graveyard is also interesting since it is an additional historical source for studying the history of the Jews living in Oni.
On the 2nd of September, the monument dedicated to Sergei Metreveli and the victims of the Holocaust was opened; the ceremony was organized by the “Israeli House” and City Hall of Oni municipality. The event was held within The European Days of Jewis Culture and was supported by The European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture and Heritage (AEPJ). In 1942, once the Nazis invaded Kislovodsk, which is a city located in the north Caucasus, Sergei Metrvel, who at that time, worked in a wine factory in the said city, helped some Jews escape the place and sheltered them in Racha, Utsera. The Jews who could not leave Kisovodsk were shot by Nazis. In 2006 World Holocaust Center in Jerusalem - Yad Vashem, gave Sergei Metrevel the nobel status of “Righteous Among the Nations”, which made his name immortal. In 2015, with the support from the Knesset, the “Israeli House” filmed a movie about Sergei Metreveli and the survivor Emil Zigel. The premier, organized by the “Israeli House”, of the film was held at a Hasbara event.