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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/

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