Historic Wilmington Synagogue launches campaign to raise funds for restoration


Temple of Israel in downtown Wilmington (Photo: Celeste Smith, WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – One of the most recognizable buildings in the city of Wilmington, the Temple of Israel is in need of the community’s help. At 150 years old, the Temple of Israel stands at 4th and Market Street, and now needs half a million dollars for restoration.

The historic Temple of Israel building is in need of repair due to water damage and deterioration that comes with age. The temple is the oldest Jewish place of worship in continuous use in the state, but it has been closed for worship and other events since last year.

Fundraising started 2 months ago and so far $ 200,000 has been donated or pledged to reach the goal of $ 500,000.

“It took us a while to get there, but we are so excited to be really on our way back to our sacred building, and I hope our vision will not only bring us back, but actually help us.” to prepare for the future ”, declared

The temple also houses an organ which dates from 1906, and is one of three of its type still in use. There is also an almost 200-year-old chandelier in the shrine from Germany.

Rachel Rhine, a member of the 150 restoration committee, says she has been a member of the Temple of Israel congregation her entire life and hopes to see the historic building restored soon.

“I had my baptism ceremony here, I had my Bat Mitzvah here, I had my father’s funeral here. It is a place that is particularly close to my heart. I have lived in other cities, I have been to other synagogues and there is no place that looks like me like home like this building does, and it is so much a part of our congregation and also of our community, ”said Rachel Rhine, restaurateur and committee member.

Glenn Tetterton, another member of the restoration campaign committee, says the building’s history is significant not only to the Jewish community, but to the Wilmington community as a whole.

“We are part of the fabric of the community, and the building is part of the architectural fabric of Wilmington and the Historic District and we believe that is important not only spiritually to us, but culturally and architecturally to the state. There aren’t many Moorish-style synagogues left, ”said Glenn Tetterton, member of the restoration committee.

The campaign recognizes the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Temple of Israel congregation in 1871, and funds will be raised until August of next year.

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