|Isaac Mayer Wise |
(photo: American Jewish Archives)
Ligonier had quite a large Jewish population during the 1860s which continued until the 1930s when the population began to disappear. In 1932, the services began to be held only on High Holy Days until the temple was closed at the end of World War II. From 1965 until 1989, the temple was a place of worship by several churches. During this time, the pews and much of the furniture was removed and unable to be recovered. The Eternal Light, which once hung from the ceiling in the front of the sanctuary, was removed and presented to the Lakeside Temple of Lake Forest, Chicago, by Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Wertheimer, members of the congregation. The inscription on the light reads: "PRESENTED BY HUBERT LOESER, MAY 20-04, IN MEMORY OF MR. AND MRS. JACOB WEIL." Many of the beautiful home on Ligonier's Main Street were built by Jewish residents. At its largest, the Jewish community numbered nearly 200 families.
Because it was part of Ligonier's past and a great part of our Jewish Heritage, a group of concerned citizens went searching for someone to buy the temple to preserve it. It was purchased by the Ligonier Public Library, along with some grants, and was made into a museum to be known as the Ligonier Historical Museum. To help celebrate our Jewish heritage, a rededication was held in September of 1989, on the 100th anniversary of when it was first dedicated. The museum currently holds Jewish artifacts along with many items from Ligonier's past. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and soon to be recognized by the Indiana Historical Bureau.
|Protruding ark bay in 1889|
synagogue in Ligonier, IN
|Protruding ark bay in 1876|
Adas Israel synagogue
in Washington, D.C.
|A young King David sitting |
on his new throne
|A youthful David with Jonathan|
While visiting the inside of the Temple, one is first struck by the beauty of the three large leaded glass windows displaying three scenes of Biblical King David's life. Also seen are menorahs and the Star of David. At the bottom of these windows, green rectangular pieces of glass replace what were thought to be dedication statements. These statements would have included the names of donors who funded the procurement of the windows. The dedication statements are thought to have been replaced with plain green glass in the 1960s when the building was transformed into a church. On either side of the Torah ark, the Ark of the Covenant and the Burnt Offering are also depicted in stained glass. The windows were not original to the temple but were added a few years after completed construction.
|Well up in years, King David is|
depicted playing the harp
|Torah ark at front of sanctuary|