PROVIDENCE – The public will have an opportunity to tour the historic Congregation Sons of Jacob synagogue and learn about its history and plans for the future during a free open house on Sunday, June 25 from 12 to 3 p.m.
Originally built as a one-story structure in 1906, a second-floor sanctuary was completed in 1992, including hand-painted murals of the zodiac on the ceiling. Located at 24 Douglas Ave., a few blocks from many Jewish-owned businesses along Shawmut Street, the congregation eventually grew to nearly 300 families, necessitating the addition.
Following construction of an interstate highway near its Smith Hill location and the gradual distribution of original congregants to the suburbs, the remaining smaller congregation returned to worshiping in the first-floor space of the synagogue, where it began, according to an emailed statement from Sons of Jacob President Harold Silverman.
Although the sanctuary hasn’t been used in a decade, the synagogue has the potential to become the home of a new Jewish history and cultural museum showcasing the Jewish immigrant experience in Rhode Island, according to the statement.
Last month, Silverman began a capital campaign to raise funds for building improvements.
The open house will feature music, snacks and a special welcoming committee led by Silverman. It is being organized by Doors Open Rhode Island in partnership with the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, Smith Hill Community Development Corp., and the newly formed Rhode Island Jewish History Museum.
Doors Open Rhode Island is a new local initiative aimed at “connecting people to local places of cultural, historical and architectural significance,” according to the statement.