Come and explore Newark’s Jewish history
over the past 170 years. Take a journey from the middle of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th century
when the City of Newark was the 8th largest Jewish community in the country and the largest Jewish population center in the
state of New Jersey with more than 40 synagogues, many distinguished spiritual leaders, and prominent Jewish residents. And
learn about Newark’s only remaining active synagogue with a congregation dating back to 1905.
At our recent viewing reception on Thursday evening, December 6th, more than 100 people joined us for a special program
that included a Hanuakah Menorah lightening ceremony with Rabbi Simon Rosenbach and Dubra Shenker from Cong. Ahavas Sholom
in Newark; the United Synagogues of Hoboken Choir; a shofer blowing demonstration by Eric Freedman; a slide presentation about
the exhibit with Phil Yourish and Mark Gordon - and potato latkes and jelly donuts.
The exhibit runs through February 2019 and is located on the 1st and 4th floors. In the summer of 2019, it
will be at the JCC in West Orange.
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, 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 in Newark.
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.
This 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. Our thanks to Linda Forgosh, the Executive
Director of the Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey - and Warren Grover for his generous