WILMINGTON, North Carolina (WECT) – The Temple of Israel at 4th and Market Streets needs urgent repair, and the community urged to help raise the $ 500,000 needed to restore the nearly 150-year-old shrine .
The Temple of Israel is the oldest Jewish place of worship in continuous use in the state of North Carolina and has been closed since 2020 because water intrusion and age-related deterioration rendered it unusable .
Prior to Thursday’s announcement, over $ 200,000 had been donated or pledged through private fundraisers; currently, the organizers are approaching foundations and writing grants for additional funds. Donor recognition plans include a plaque that will be prominently displayed at the temple.
Beverly Tetterton, current chair of the temple board, says the temple is of historic architectural significance in historic Wilmington.
“According to the American Jewish Historical Society, the Temple of Israel is the 10th oldest synagogue still in use in the United States,” Tetterton said. “Its design follows the style of Moorish Revival architecture popular in the 1800s.”
The Historic Wilmington Foundation awarded the temple a historic plaque in 1976 to commemorate its 100th anniversary.
Items of historical significance include a working Pilcher-Tracker organ dating back to 1906 and a 200-year-old chandelier.
Modern upgrades include air conditioning and a lift.
The campaign’s name, “Restoration 150,” recognizes the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Temple of Israel congregation in 1871.
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