Odessa, the Cradle of Israeli Culture, Enjoys a Jewish Renaissance

The Ukrainian port city of Odessa, once home to hundreds of thousands of Jews, is experiencing a ‘golden age’ - with modern Israel proving an unlikely inspiration

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The center of Odessa, above. Top and bottom right: The Dizyngoff restaurant, which is “influenced by Jewish and Israeli culture but is essentially Odessan,” says co-founder Alexander Vlasopolov.
The center of Odessa, above. Top and bottom right: The Dizyngoff restaurant, which is “influenced by Jewish and Israeli culture but is essentially Odessan,” says co-founder Alexander Vlasopolov.Credit: Szymon Stasik Elizaveta Lazdina
Rebecca Greig
Odessa Marat Parkhomovsky and Anat Berkman.Credit: Nicole de Castro
Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon and Vladislav Davidzon. Credit: Moishe Gulko
Allenby café in Odessa.Credit: Rebecca Greig
Illustration: Jews congregate in the street in Odessa in the 1800sCredit: Getty Images
The Brodsky synagogue – built by Jews from Brody in 1863 – was the largest synagogue in the south of what was then the Russian EmpireCredit: Yuriy Kvach / Wikicommons