Tifereth Israel, constructed in 1911, is the oldest synagogue in Queens.
Designated a New York City Landmark in 2008, this wooden building is a rare survivor of the earliest, vernacular synagogues and was designed in the Gothic and Moorish revival styles by Crescent L. Varrone. For the last decade The New York Landmarks Conservancy has provided financial, technical and project management assistance to the congregation for the comprehensive $1.6 million restoration of their treasured home. The Tifereth Israel congregation has been an active partner in restoration efforts since first contacting the Conservancy in 1997.
This project has been generously supported with public and private funding including New York City capital funding allocated by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. Additional support has been provided by several individuals, foundations, and nonprofit organizations including Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Goldstein, Leonard Lauder, Sam Domb, The David Berg Foundation, The New York Community Trust and The New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Read The New York Times Article on the rededication and restoration.
Click here for more photos from the ceremony.
At their 46th annual meeting on May 29, 2013, the Victorian Society of New York presented a Preservation and Rehabilitation Award for the exterior restoration of the synagogue.
Work is now underway to install new electrical and heating systems at the landmark building. The Conservancy served as project manager for a $1.6 million restoration of the four exterior facades which was completed in 2012. This entailed removing the stucco that was put over its original clapboard siding and recladding the synagogue in wood. Li/Saltzman was the project architect.
This same team, along with Charles Michel Engineer and L. David Contracting, is now implementing a second phase: the installation of a new electrical system to replace a very old and unsafe one, as well as a new boiler, hot water, and heating plant. The work is scheduled to be completed by early fall, allowing the congregation to worship in comfort this winter.
The exterior restoration was paid for with a combination of public and private funding. An unused reserve from the private funding has underwritten the interior improvements. The small but dedicated congregation hopes to continue fundraising to allow for further restoration of the sanctuary.