Monday, October 01, 2007

Historic downtown Tucson building restored

[Source: Eileen Warshaw] -- The Jewish Heritage Center, the first synagogue in Arizona, will host a celebration on Sunday afternoon, October 21, 2007 to dedicate the new stained glass windows and ark doors and to celebrate the completion of the historic restoration of the original 1910 building. The celebration will also include the burning of the restoration mortgage. The historic building is located at 564 S. Stone Avenue and was opened on October 3, 1910. Noted Tucson families, including the Mansfelds, Steinfelds, and Drachmans were part of the original congregation Temple Emanu-El, which occupied the structure until 1949.

From 1949 to 1995 the building housed a succession of various churches, a radio station and a little theatre. The building became part of the national landmark district Barrio Libre in 1983. In 1995 the non-profit Stone Avenue Temple Project purchased the building and started the much needed restoration. In 2005 the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Arizona merged with the Stone Avenue Temple Project to form The Jewish Heritage Center. The mission of the Jewish Heritage Center is the collection, preservation and teaching of the early Jewish experience in the American Southwest and the preservation of the first synagogue building in the Arizona Territory. The 2 p.m. event will feature the noted Jewish historian and author Harriet Rochlin of Los Angeles.