Congregation Beth Jacob Relics

The life of a shul is like that of its congregants, time limited. My shul lasted some seventy years. I came as a new member in its waning days. Established as a Hungarian Modern Orthodox synagogue in Astoria, it became a German Jewish institution where High Holy Day services once did not have enough seats.

Always a newcomer among its attendants of many decades of faithful support, hundreds came for a service but never to return. We became a congregation unique, enjoying each other in the group of shul goers, even though we may have lacked as individuals. We came alive in the group.

But despite all our efforts, we came to an impasse. The synagogue could not afford to continue. Battles ensued for five years as to the dissolution. We asked to become a Jewish center, a Jewish club, a much smaller shul. Nothing was viable, and we became fewer.

So we disperse the assets, kept the grave site, and guard the shul’s relics. We were not a rich shul and it shows in these remaining religious heirlooms. They need a new home to enrich Jewish life.. And not shown are a dozen of the most beautiful stained glass windows, one for each tribe, still in the building that once was our synagogue, now reliving as a Greek Community Center.

--Long Island City, NY