Delivered six pieces to the Providence Broad Street Synagogue Project today.  So honored to play a part of this very special project.

The 2011 Broad Street Synagogue Project Providence, Rhode Island

Built in 1911 as a site of worship for the Sons
of Israel and Sons of David congregations,
Temple Beth El was the first temple built on
the South Side of downtown Providence for a
citywide Jewish population of approximately
10,000 and a growing reform movement.
Jews settled both in Providence’s North End
(primarily Lithuanian and Polish immigrants
whose synagogue was since demolished to
1950s) and the South Side (primarily Romanian and Ukrainian immigrants).

While the Jewish population tripled over the next 30 years, as their wealth grew, the community began to move to the East Side of the city and Beth El soon relocated its congregation to a new synagogue in 1954 to meet that need. Broad Street’s Synagogue became Sons of Abraham in the mid-1960s and remained an active site of worship (though it became much smaller as Providence’s Jewish population has reverted to close to its 1910 size) until 2002 when Sons of Abraham merged with Temple Beth Shalom, an orthodox shul on the Eastside that now owns the Broad Street property.

Over this century, Broad Street and the South Side of Providence have maintained its identity as the home of recent immigrant populations and now is the center of much Dominican and Puerto Rican culture. The Broad Street Synagogue property, while structurally sound, has sat unused this past decade, and as a result has suffered from neglect, weather damage, and some acts of vandalism.

Plans/Ideas/Thoughts for the Future of Broad Street Synagogue

We are actively raising funds to:

It is exactly 100 years since the Broad Street Synagogue was built. We are undertaking an endeavor to preserve and renew this beautiful historical structure so that it can be used as

a cultural, spiritual, and community space
for past and present residents of Providence. This building tells a story—both in its use and abandonment—of how and why residents migrated to and within Providence and the importance of cultural spaces in navigating that sense of place.

  • Preserve and rehabilitate the 3000 square foot main sanctuary so that it can be used as a performance, rehearsal, teaching, and gathering space for local artists and educators

  • Re-open the Synagogue to serve as a home for spiritual practice in South Providence

  • Convert the first floor of the building into a home for arts and education non-profits

    invested in the life of the building

  • Re-establish the dual industrial (and kosher) kitchens so that they can be used as incubator

    spaces for local chefs and small business owners

  • Design programming that tells, teaches, and provides a space for investigating the public


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Photography by David Lee Black Studios. All images copyrighted.