NYC Landmarks Conservancy Honors Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue Monday, May 11, 2004

This evening, at a presentation that took place at the recently restored Biltmore Theater, Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue was awarded the prestigious Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award bestowed by the NYC Landmarks Conservancy. The "Lucy", as it is affectionately called, is the highest honor for excellence in historic preservation. The award brings recognition to preservation leaders, organizations, and the owners, architects, contractors, craftspeople, and tradespeople who restore beauty and utility to some of New York's most distinguished architecture.

Also honored this evening were the following landmarks: The Biltmore Theater (opened in 1925), The Brooklyn Historical Society headquarters (1878), Curtis High School in Staten Island (1902), the Middle School for Packer Collegiate Institute (1869), 780 West End Avenue (1912), South Street Seaport Museum Schermerhorn Row (early 1800's), Verizon Building next to ground zero (1927), Washington Square Arch (1895), the High School for the Preservation Arts, and Joan Maynard of the Weeksville Project of Bedford Stuyvesant. Among the dignitaries and illustrious buildings stood our precious Kehila.

As listed in the brochure:

Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue was founded on the Lower East Side by Greek Jewish Immigrants in 1906. The present building, constucted in 1927, is the only remaining Romaniote Synagogue in the western hemisphere. It's facade, combining elements of Classical and Moorish architecture, has been faithfully restored. Within the building, a museum has been created to house the religious and cultural artifacts and thereby help preserve the distinctive cultural heritage of the congregants whose ancestors journeyed from Ioannina (Janina) in northern Greece to Broome Street in New York City.

Specifically honored for the restoration work were: Baschnagel Brothers (roofing), Burda Construction (contractor), Leonard Colchamiro (architect), Gil Studio (stained glass), Jablonski Berkowitz Conservation Inc. (paint conservator), Holly Kaye (Planning and Development Consultant) and the "owner" of Kehila Kedosha Janina.

Accepting the award were Hy Genee, Leonard Colchamiro, Holly Kaye and Sol Kofinas. All spoke elegantly, but Sol won the hearts of everyone with his simple accessment of the role the Kehila played in his life.

This is truly a great honor and we are all beholden to the Landmarks Conservancy for this recognition, to Holly Kaye for her dedication to our cause and to our beloved Leonard who stunned the audience of high-profile (and high-paid) architects when they learned that he did this pro bono!

Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos
Museum Director
Kehila Kedosha Janina

Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos
President, Association of Friends of Greek Jewry
2621 Ramona Street
East Meadow, NY 11554

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International Survey of Jewish Monuments
Last updated: May 16, 2004