Documentation Rescue Fund
ISJM’s Documentation Rescue Fund makes available money for photographers, architects and others to document endangered Jewish sites as needed, on short notice. The Fund was established in 2007 using existing resources, and has been used to successfully document two endangered synagogues in the United States: Congregation Adas Yisroel Anshe Mezeritch on East 6th Street in New York City and Temple Emanu-El in Paterson, New Jersey.
The future of small lower East Side Adas Yisroel Anshe Mezeritch Synagogue is uncertain. According to local sources, developers have proposed demolishing the synagogue and replacing it with a residential tower in which a new sanctuary will be installed on the lower level. Presently, the synagogue consists of a second-story sanctuary with an impressive 19th-century Gothic style Ark and a ground floor Beth Midrash. The upper sanctuary is rarely, if even used. All service, study and gatherings are held in the Beth Midrash.
Temple Emanu-El in Paterson, probably the finest Art Deco synagogue ever built, has now been sold, stripped of most of its historic Art Deco fittings and furnishings. The new owner is purported to want to preserve some historic features of the building, but the future is unknown and the future of the building is uncertain.
Sometimes this documentation can be used for preservation efforts. Our primary goal, however, is to create a lasting record for posterity. In the case of Temple Emanuel in Paterson, New Jersey, ISJM documentation was then used to list the building on the New Jersey Preservation Most Endangered List.
ISJM is now looking for foundation support to allow us to expand this service.