At a ceremony with the mayor today, Park Slope’s Congregation Beth Elohim was announced as one of 40 finalists—and the only Jewish institution among them—for a historic renovation grant contest sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, according to a release. While all institutions in the Partners for Preservation program will get some of the $3 million Amex has allocated (in most cities, the annual contest involves only $1 million, according to CBE’s Rabbi Andy Bachman), how much each receives is tiered, based on how many votes each finalist gets between now and May 21.
Top prize? $250,000.
“They seem to have chosen a combination of prestigious citywide institutions—the Guggenheim, the High Line, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Public Library—and then they chose a handful of local organizations as well,” Bachman (a Friend-of-The Scroll) said yesterday. “From what we understand, there are several things they like: that we’re in our 150th year and we’ve been this long-running Brooklyn institution going through a period of intense revitalization; that we’re not just a synagogue but are serving the broader community with social-action projects and an afterschool program that serves four public schools; and all our interfaith stuff with Old First Church.” Bachman has more reflections on his blog.
As part of the program, each institution must have an open house. CBE’s will be on the afternoon of Sunday, May 6, and will feature a new installation, “Jacob’s Ladder by BanG,” designed by the same architects responsible for the congregation’s award-winning 2011 sukkah.
Bachman said that CBE, whose roof collapsed in 2009, could use extra funds for repairs. “$250,000 is the cost of replacing one stained-glass window,” he noted.
Oh, and you can vote here. Once a day. Hint, hint.
CBE Among 40 Finalists [Water Over Rocks]
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.