In our downtown, we have this beautiful former synagogue right next to Old St. Vincent Church, which is the prettiest church in town (I think so at least). Old St. Vincent used to be St. Vincent's, and in the 1930's the parish donated a piece of land directly adjacent to the church to Cape Girardeau's Jewish community for the construction of a synagogue, as a gesture of friendship. The B'Nai Israel Synagogue was constructed in 1937, after a scouting trip to scope out a design to the Middle East, as Europe wasn't as accessible to them at that point in time. The Jewish community decreased in size a few decades down the line, and the synagogue closed years ago. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
I've always been fascinated by the synagogue, sitting empty for as long as I can remember. The architecture is like nothing else in town, and it always made me sad to see it shuttered up and out of use. I love that the land was given as a gesture of friendship...that inter-faith tolerance and mutual respect makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
A local antique store owner owns the synagogue, and as a group has recently rented it, she needed to get the bigger pieces of furniture out. A few weeks ago Ryan and I were in here antique store, and Ryan said that he had a surprise for me. He pointed me in the direction of these lovely old dark wood pews, and said that they had come out of the synagogue and that he had gotten me two, one for each side of my front door.
My mouth dropped open. I'd been wanting pews for our front porch for years, but pews that came out of the synagogue, one of my favorite pieces of Cape history? YES. Followed by YES.
Ryan got stuck hauling them home in a freak downpour, and they needed some sanding/restoring/gluing done, but they made their grand appearance on my front porch this weekend! I sat in them and watched it rain. The dark wood against our white house is just perfect, and they have that little dip in the back so your butt slides right down.
So now I have 2 synagogue pews and I'm over-excited about this. A dream I didn't know I had came true, hahaha!
Any fun additions to your home lately?