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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/


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