Furnishing Villa Zora

The main synagogue in Villa Zora was located on the first floor, while a smaller prayer room was set aside for the Orthodox group. In order to furnish the new synagogue, the Jewish communities of Ancona and Livorno donated five Torah scrolls, while the Jewish community of Rome gave an antique silver ceremonial lamp. The Jewish community of Trieste donated a Torah ark.


Ceremonial lamp donated by the Jewish community of Rome
Source: https://cja.huji.ac.il/image-wrapped.php?id=28103&m=original
© Courtesy of The Centre for Jewish Art

The Torah ark came from the ancient Sephardic rite Scola Spagnola, a synagogue that had been located in Palazzo Balzano, in Trieste's old Ghetto since the 18th century. There was also a German rite synagogue in the same building. Both had been abandoned after the inauguration of the new synagogue in 1912. Palazzo Balzano was demolished in 1935 as part of the City of Trieste's massive urban development project in the area. 

The Scola Spagnola Torah ark was donated to the new Opatija synagogue, and Lionel Stock paid the cost of 10,000 Italian Lire to have it disassembled and re-erected in Villa Zora. A Trieste leather wholesaler named Davide Elfer provided transportation of the Torah ark from Trieste to Opatija. The Jewish community of Trieste also donated several original benches from the demolished synagogues, while others were provided by the City of Opatija.