An American Jewish congregation who were forced to sell their synagogue after it fell into financial difficulties, has found a new home in a neighbouring Episcopal Church. On Sunday, the congregation of Or Chadash (New Light) will process from their former Synagogue in Pawtuxet, Rhode Island, to the nearby Trinity Episcopal Church. They will be joined by church members as they carry the Torah scrolls to their new home.
The former synagogue of Am David was sold after going into receivership. It was bought by a Buddhist community and converted into Rhode Island’s first Buddhist temple. Under the sale agreement, the Jewish congregation were able to continue to meet their until they found a new home.
“Our wardens and vestry are excited about this partnering which expresses our commitment to ecumenism and fellowship, while supporting our sisters and brothers in the Jewish faith community,” Trinity’s Priest in Charge, the Revd Mitchell Lindeman, said in a message on the Church’s website.
The Bishop of Rhode Island, Nicholas Knisely, will join both congregations as they process the Torah from the old synagogue to their new home in a side chapel at Trinity Episcopal Church.
The housing of the Jewish congregation in the side chapel of Trinity Church came about when Congregation President Beth Veltri called the local Mayor, Scott Avedisian, for advice. Mayor Avedisian is Warden of Trinity and thought that its small chapel, which is only used a few times a year, would be a good possibility, and he set about finding out whether it would be possible.
“There was not one negative comment from anyone,” Avedisian told the Cranston Herald newspaper.
Lindeman agreed: “From the most senior to the newest members, no one batted an eye,” he said. He told the Herald that it was part of Trinity’s “ministry of facility”, saying “let’s lose the keys [to the church] out in the community.”