The Synagogues of Newark: Where we gathered
and prayed, studied and celebrated chronicles the history of Newark’s Jewish houses of worship
from the 19th century to the present. Combining photography, archival materials, and oral histories, this exhibit explores
the architectural, spiritual, and social legacy of the synagogues that once graced the city’s landscape in the past
and documents the presence of the Jewish community in Newark today.
“The Synagogues of Newark: Where we gathered and prayed, studied and celebrated” opened at The Jewish Museum of New
Jersey on Sunday November 27th with more than 100 people attending. Members of the families of the following Newark rabbis
joined us: Meyer Blumenfeld, Mordecai Ehrenkranz, Herman Kahan, Oscar Klein, Eli Pilchik, and Saul Zinn and
Mates Berkel. We intervied Marsha Solomon, the daughter of Rabbi Hershel Cohen
and Rabbi Samuel Bogomilsky, the lontime spiritual leader of Congrgation Mount Sinai at the Ivy Hill apartments
in Newark. THe Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston loaned us two panels on the history of the Hebrew Academy
The exhibit concluded with the film Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not
Be Silent. Filmaker Rachel Nierenberg Pasternak and Prinz' daughter,
Deborah, were guests. This past summer the exhibit traveled to The Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey in Whippany.
Based on extensive archival research in partnership with The Jewish Historical Society of
New Jersey, this first of its kind exhibit presented information on over fifteen synagogues that served as centers of Jewish
life in Newark during the first half of the 20th century, when the Jewish population of Newark numbered in the tens of thousands.
The exhibit traces the lineage of each of these synagogues, their founders, their rabbis, key events, and the architectural
features of the buildings.
Most of the synagogues featured in
the exhibit have since relocated to the suburbs during the Jewish out-migration from Newark which began in the 1950s and accelerated
during the 1960s. Several of the buildings that once housed these congregations now serve as Christian houses of worship.
Others have been lost to neglect, disrepair and demolition.
exhibit, sponsored by a grant from the Newark 350 Committee, seeks to bring the memory of these synagogues
back to life, to preserve and celebrate their history as a significant part of the Newark’s history. Phil Yourish curated the exhibit
and Max Herman, Mark Gordon, Harold Kravis, Tim Lee, Paula Borenstein, Rosemary Steinbaum
and Beth Zak-Cohen made major contributions. Linda Lobdell was the graphic designer
and the panels were printed by the Budget Print Center in Bloomfield. Articles on the exhibit appeared
in the NJ Jewish News, and the Jewish Link.