Monday, January 19, 2015

The synagogue is for sale

1/9/2015 Kendallville News Sun article in the
Indiana Economic Digest regarding the sale.
This past fall I neglected my usual posting duties because I've been head over heels in love with my new baby girl. Eleora Margalit was born on October 17th and she's taken over the world as I knew it. She is named after her four great-grandmothers: Leona, Lenore, Eleanor, and Margaret (all in blessed memory). In Hebrew, her name means "Light of God" and "Pearl." But as I changed diapers and watched this bundle of joy double in size in her first three months, the historic 1889 Ahavath Sholom synagogue is now for sale.
1/16/2015 Goshen News article 
regarding the sale

This news was not a shock to the Ligonier Historical Society. Before the Indiana Historic Marker dedication, Jerry Nesbitt of the Ligonier Public Library, told the group that due to the Library's recent renovations, they were operating in a deficit. Looking to liquidate any assets to minimize this deficit, the Library Board was considering selling Ahavath Sholom. Jerry has been a long-time advocate for the building not to mention an avid historian himself.

At first Jerry asked me if I might have any ideas of individuals or organizations who may be interested in purchasing it. My initial thoughts went out to Indiana's Jewish community. Perhaps if we joined forces we could come together, like we did for the historic marker, to ensure the building stays as is, or better yet, restored.

Then I had a baby and my volunteer efforts in Ligonier took a back seat for a few months. But over the past two weeks, local Indiana media published several articles regarding the pending sale of the synagogue. These articles have caused a flurry of phone calls, emails, and letters (yes, actual paper letters) about the building and have reminded me that I need to reach out to the Indiana, and maybe even the Midwest, Jewish community to make sure they are aware that this beautiful building is for sale.

The Ligonier Historical Society is taking a hiatus in collection organization and stabilization this winter. Once the new owner of the building is identified, the collections may need to be relocated but this is still unclear. As new, concrete information surfaces, I will be sure to post it here.

In other news, thanks to the hard work of Sheryl Prentice, the Noble County Visitors Bureau was selected to participate in a "Bicentennial 2016: The Next Indiana" workshop to help promote Ligonier's historic Jewish heritage to tourists. The kickoff meeting is this Friday the 23rd and I am excited to hear what comes about from the planning!


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