Pid Zolotom Rosa
At the end of the street Starojevres'ka, in the heart of the city center, close to the old wall, is located on an empty square, the ruins of the former synagogue, the Golden Rose. This private synagogue, opened to everyone, was built at the end of the 16th century. Only the back of the building as well as a part of wall are today visible.
Destroyed in 1942 by the Nazis, those ruins are the only building remembering the former Jewish presence of the old town. Even if lots of Mezuzah are still visible at the entrance of the surrounding buildings. Paradoxically, the site was preserved by the Soviet authorities under pressure of the OECD during the sixties.
While the square is today empty, the beauty of the place attract several newly engaged couples for their photo sessions or Ukrainian youth enjoying the sun. The medieval wall, the synagogue arcades partly hidden behind trees, and old building around create a perfect tourist site but above all a peaceful place.
Only people looking at the ground will notice few Jewish graves from the former synagogue cemetery. The Nazis and after the Soviets used them to pave the square. We can guess few writings saved by the time reveling a name, a date...
At the corner of the square is located a restaurant called Pid Zolotoyu Rozoju(Under the Golden Rose) and its cozy wooden garden. This restaurant, on the topic of Jewish Galician culture, is one of the about twenty mood restaurants spread through the city using historical themes. Thus, we can eat in Lviv in Gazova Lampa(gaslamp), Mazure(father of the masochism born in Lviv), Kriyvka(dedicated to the Ukrainian underground army – UPA)...
When we enter to the restaurant Pid Zolotoyu Rozoju, we are nicely surprised by the joyful and hushed atmosphere. A Jewish music and old movies playing on the background, draft of Bruno Schultz on the walls, layers and candelabrum... Employees welcome you with smiling 'Shalom' and are able to discuss a basic Yiddish polite talk. You are invited to seat and to look at the menu illustrated with Jewish paintings and pictures, menu that you read from the right to the left.
Most of customers are Lvivian people or European, American or Israeli tourists... They appreciate this warm place where food is known to be good. Before the meal, the waiter propose you to wash your hand bringing you metal jar and basin. The menu is regularly changed and renewed. Recipes are Jewish even if food is not Kosher – logistic barrier, the only supplier is in Kiev. However, they serve Matza and kosher vodka. Price are not mentioned on the menu. You have to bargain them at the end of the meal with the waiter. One leaf composed by two pages explain you why this restaurant and the motives of the owner and his employees. As a justification was needed...
The problem of this restaurant could seem to be quite simple. However it causes lots of controversies among the Jewish community. Except the fact that at the entrance of the place you can wear Jewish hats to which were added payots (long hair close to the ears), the nice wooden garden is located on the only ground of the former synagogue. Without talking of the property aspect, the place is not really favorable for entertainment and drinking alcohol. The use of the stereotype of Jews as rich person (bargaining of the prices) is not really well perceived among a community especially poor.
The best argument invoked by the young manager to justify the well grounded of her company is that it is the only visible place dedicated to the Jewish culture in Lviv. The restaurant and its working team, particularly young, are indeed doing their best to respect and to make accessible the Jewish culture to the customers. But business is clearly at stake. It is like that, that we perceive from the restaurant side as well as from the main part of the Jewish community.
Some talks about the opening of another place more respectful to the Jewish traditions in the other Jewish district of the town, Krakivski. Only few have enough strength – personal and financial, to try this adventure. The concurrence of the restaurant Pid Zolotoyu Rozoju, particularly well located, and the corruption make it a nice and sweet dream.
Adress of the restaurant :