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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Please visit my Facebook Page where I am now posting articles, links and photographs relating to American synagogue architecture, Jewish Community history, Jewish genealogy & related topics. I post there several times a week and include many wonderful photographs. While I will not be updating this blog, there are a lot of great synagogue photographs here that I will leave "up & running". Thanks to everyone who visited the page in the past and those who may visit it in the future. Be sure to click "like" when visiting my Facebook Page. Many thanks.

Julian H. Preisler, Author - Facebook Page


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

To those of you that are following my Blog I would like to say thank you for your interest and support. I have decided to close down my blog and concentrate on my postings and photos on my professional Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jhpreisler and my Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/Researcher25419. I encourage you to visit these two sites and click "like" and "Follow" to keep up with my posts. I am working on several projects now and will be postings photos and updates on both Facebook and Twitter. I have one book in the works that will be published by Fonthill Media later this year and it will be a book of photographs and history relating to the synagogues of Central and Western Pennsylvania. I am also researching the existence of Holocaust memorials and museums throughout North America and hope to put together an eBook with the results. I have also started work on two eBooks of synagogue photographs and history. One will cover the "Buckeye State" of Ohio where I used to live and the other will cover synagogues in small towns located all over the USA. Again thanks to everyone for your interest in my blog. I do hope that you will consider following me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It has been a while since I've posted on my blog mostly because I've been posting photographs and short articles on my Facebook Page. Have a look and click "like" to follow my posts. Topics include American synagogue architecture, Jewish genealogy, local American Jewish history, historic preservation and other architecture & history related topics. https://www.facebook.com/jhpreisler - I'm currently working on two books. The first will be published by Fonthill Media and will be a book of photographs and history of synagogues in Central and Western Pennsylvania. Focus will be on Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and the many small cities and towns that either currently have synagogues or those that once had a Jewish Community and synagogue. My other project is to identify and collect images of Holocaust memorials, museums and educational centers all across North America. Covering the USA, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, so far I have indentified 310 memorials, etc. and have about 150 more to add, mostly for "town specific" memorials in NY and NJ. I plan to self-publish when the research is completed.

Since it has been too long since I posted any photos here, I will include a few related to the new Pennsylvania book. First is a photograph of the former Congregation B'nai Israel in Pittsburgh dedicated in 1923. The photo was taken some years ago when the building was still used as a Jewish house of worship. It is now the Urban League of Pittsburgh Charter School. Due to a decline in the Jewish population of the neighborhood, the Conservative congregation merged with a few other Jewish congregations in the area and formed a new congregation, Adat Shalom, in the suburb of Fox Chapel. Here is their website: http://www.adatshalompgh.org/ Their former synagogue is one of the two most beautiful synagogues in Pittsburgh. The other one being Rodeph Shalom Congregation which is a large and very active Reform congregation located in the Oakland section of the city.
 
Now on to Altoona, Pennsylvania. There are two active congregations in the city. One of them is Temple Beth Israel, a Reform congregation formed in the late 19th century as the Mountain City Hebrew Reformed Congregation. Their present synagogue dates to 1927. The congregation became Temple Beth Israel in 1922. You can learn more about the congregation here: http://templebethisrael.net/


Monday, July 23, 2012

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Synagogues

Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania and while not a large city (city population around 50,000), there is a large and historic Jewish Community. The metro area has 7 synagogues, a Jewish Community Center, several Jewish cemeteries, all the various Jewish organizations as well as a moving Holocaust Memorial located along the riverfront. Two synagogues, Beth El and Ohev Sholom, maintain historic structures along Front Street a short distance from the downtown core. Temple Ohev Sholom is a Reform congregation founded in 1853. Their present Neo-Classical Revival synagogue was built in 1920. It is a handsome edifice facing the river. Additions have been made to the synagogue campus over the years always in harmony with the original temple building. Ohev Sholom is the largest Reform synagogue in South Central Pennsylvania and the oldest Jewish congregation. http://ohevsholom.org/
 
 
Photographs By Julian H. Preisler - 2012

Beth El Temple is a Conservative congregation established in 1926. Located just up the street from Ohev Sholom, their structure is a striking combination of Moorish-Revival and Byzantine-Revival architecture. Dedicated in 1928, additions have beenmade in 1952 and 1981. Beth El Temple is the largest Jewish congregation in the area. http://www.betheltemplehbg.org/
Photographs By Julian H. Preisler - 2012


In 2009 a tragic fire destroyed the entire interior of the synagogue of Congregation Chisuk Emuno, also in Harrisburg. Located a short distance from Beth El Temple, the congregation was established in 1883 and dedicated their Mid-Century Modern synagogue in 1956. That building stands boarded-up awaiting either re-use or demolition. The congregation broke ground in late 2011 on their new synagogue which will be located a short distance away from the former building. A future blog post will include photographs of their new building once it is completed. http://www.chisukemuna.org/
 
Photographs By Julian H. Preisler - 2012

Harrisburg also has an Orthodox congregation, Kesher Israel, established in 1902. Their Mid-Century Modern synagogue is located in the vicinity of Beth El Temple and the former Chisuk Emuno synagogue. I will post photos of their building when I make another trip up to Harrisburg. Jewish congregations also exist in Carlisle, Mechanicsburg and Middletown, all in the metro Harrisburg-Hershey area. Mechanicsburg's Temple Beth Shalom is the only Reconstructionist Jewish congregation in Central Pennsylvania. http://tbshalom.org/

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Synagogue Photos on My Facebook Page

Lately, I have been posting more and more synagogue photographs and history on my Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/jhpreisler - I invite you to visit the page and take a look at the images and accompanying historical data. More to come.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Washington, DC Historic Synagogues
I just posted some information and my photographs of three historic synagogues in Washington, DC - The former Adas Israel Congregation now the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue; the former Washington Hebrew Congregation now the Greater New Hope Baptist Church; and the Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum which was the original Adas Israel from 1876. You can see it on my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julian-H-Preisler/122194607887961

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just a quick post with photographs of some of my favorite US synagogues.  First is a small synagogue in Sandusky, Ohio. Oheb Shalom Temple is such a classic 1950's style synagogue and eventhough it is a small building it really has some design punch. the congregation was established in 1905 and the current building dates to 1956. Here is a link to their website: http://www.ohebshalomtemple.com/

Photograph By Julian H. Preisler 2011

Congregation Agudas Achim in Columbus (Bexley), Ohio was established in 1881 and is the oldest "traditional" Jewish congregation in the city. Their present East Broad Street synagogue dedicated in 1951 is a well known Bexley landmark and contains a beautiful Holocaust Memorial on the grounds. The building has been expanded and renovated over the years the met the needs of a growing congregation. Find out more on their website: http://agudasachim.org/
Photograph By Julian H. Preisler 2011

I found out about this small gem of a synagogue a few years ago and am glad to now have some photographs of it courtesy of Charles "Chip" Rayman. This was his family's congregation. Again, the structure is a Mid-Century Modern gem in Tupelo, Mississippi. The congregation traces its beginnings to 1936 with the formation of the Northeast Mississippi Sisterhood. Jews had settled in Lee County as early as the 1850's though there were not enough in the Community to formalize a Jewish congregation until 1939. This is a rare instance where a Jewish Sisterhood preceded the formation of an actual congregation. The present Mi-Century Modern building was dedicated in 1957. In 2007 a new Bima and Ark were dedicated  in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the synagogue. A new library was dedicated in 2009. Despite its small size, this congregation carries on a long tradtion of activity and providing a Jewish presence in the town known for Elvis Presley.
 
Photographs Courtesy of Chip Rayman 2011

Just so my readers/viewers will not think that I only like MCM style buildings, though they are my favorites, here is a beautiful example of the Moorish Revival style used on many American synagogues in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Congregation B'nai B'rith was established in Savannah, Georgia in 1861 and this building was dedicated in 1909. It was in use until 1962 when the congregation dedicated a new modern synagogue. The former synagogue was used as a church until 2003 when it was acquird by the Savannah College of Art & Design for use as a Student Center. The building has since been beautifully restored. The current synagogue of the congregation is a rather brutally plain MCM style building, but the Wall behind the Bima is an explosion of style, color and design. There is an image on their website: http://www.bbjsynagogue.com/home.cfm/page/Our_Synagogue.html
Wikipedia Image By Hermann Luyken Used With Permission




One more.....Shearith Israel Congregation is the oldest  and most historic Jewish Congregation in the USA having been established in 1654 by Jews of Sephardic origin who settled in what was the Dutch colony of Neuw Amsterdam.  The congregation, also known as the "Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue" has had six buildings over the last three hundred plus years. Their current synagogue is a stately Neoclassical edifice on Central Park West that was dedicated in 1896. For more information please visit their website: http://www.shearithisrael.org/
Photograph By Julian H. Preisler 2010