United Synagogue to be restored

9/12/2008 Press Release:

Sent in by the United Synagogue of Hoboken:

Restoration kickoff for High Holy Day Season

Hoboken event marks revival of the local community

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United Synagogue of Hoboken will mark the beginning of the High Holy Day season with a celebration to kick off the restoration of its 92-year-old landmark synagogue, the Star of Israel.

The Restoration Kickoff Celebration is set for 10:30am, on Sunday, September 14, 2008, at United Synagogue of Hoboken, 115 Park Avenue, Hoboken.

The celebration also marks the remarkable renewal of the community and the achievement of related goals set during its centennial year, in 2005. Since then:

  • USH has received a generous preservation grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust to help restore the Star of Israel.
  • The Star of Israel has been placed on the New Jersey and the National Registers of Historic Places.
  • USH has received a grant from the prestigious Legacy Heritage Fund for an innovative program aimed at recreating the kind of Jewish neighborhood vitality that existed in Hoboken and other Hudson County communities early in the last century, when the Star of Israel community was established.

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The survival of the Star of Israel Synagogue reflects the tenacity of a local community that sustained the building despite the vicissitudes of the local economy. Its restoration secures a home for inspiring and nurturing the survival of Jewish life in the urban towns along the Hudson waterfront; and it symbolizes America’s enduring commitment to religious diversity and freedom.

State and local political officials and leaders of the Jewish community are expected to attend the Restoration Kickoff Celebration, which will begin with at brief ceremony in
the historic sanctuary, followed by brunch in the social hall.

See the rest of the announcement after the jump…

(United Synagogue of Hoboken restoration, continued…)

Background

The Star of Israel community was formed by recent immigrants from Eastern Europe, on October 10, 1905, just after Yom Kippur. After ten years of fundraising and planning,
the synagogue was dedicated on May 16, 1915.

The Star of Israel remain shuttered, during an extended period following World War II, when the local piers became obsolete, factories closed, and young families migrated to
the suburbs. Except for the High Holy Days, when services would be held at the Star of Israel, the diminished community met at another Hoboken location.

Revitalization began slowly, during the 1970s, when Jews were among the new generation of residents arriving in Hudson County. In 1989, the Star of Israel was reopened to accommodate a small but growing congregation and a learning center.

In 1997, the community sold its other Hoboken property and used the proceeds to help fund construction of a building next to the Star of Israel, consolidating the community at the location where it started. The community dedicated the new building, in 2002, as a venue for administration and education. Growth has exceeded expectations.

  • To accommodate the enrollment of the Children’s Learning Center, or Hebrew School, the more than one hundred students will meet in specially equipped classroom trailers installed during the summer.
  • The Kaplan Cooperative Preschool, established in 2002, and now one of the preeminent early childhood resources in Hudson County, will introduce a program for
    two-year-olds in downtown Jersey City this fall.

In building for the future, United Synagogue of Hoboken is reclaiming its past, with the restoration of the Star of Israel and with a program called My Jewish Neighborhood,
supported by the Innovation Project of the Legacy Heritage Fund. The My Jewish Neighborhood program divides Hoboken and the surrounding towns into six geographic
neighborhoods and plans local gatherings for bi-monthly Shabbat and holiday events.

The program attempts to strengthen community ties across all demographics, foster Jewish practice in the home, and revive neighborhood vitality and intimacy.

United Synagogue of Hoboken plans to begin the first phase of the restoration of the Star of Israel, focused on infrastructure, this fall. Funding for the restoration comes from the donations of USH members, a matching grant from the Kaplan Family Foundation, and a grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust. Fund raising for future phases of the restoration continues.

Further information about the restoration and other aspects of United Synagogue of Hoboken is available at www.hobokensynagogue.org.

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King of Rock
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King of Rock

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