Temple Beth-El (Providence, Rhode Island)

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For other synagogues called Beth El, see Temple Beth-El (disambiguation).
Temple Beth-El
Broad Street Synagogue
Temple Beth-El, Providence RI 2012.jpg
Temple Beth-El (Providence, Rhode Island) is located in Rhode Island
Temple Beth-El (Providence, Rhode Island)
Temple Beth-El (Providence, Rhode Island) is located in the US
Temple Beth-El (Providence, Rhode Island)
Location Providence, Rhode Island
Coordinates 41°48′19″N 71°25′11″W / 41.80528°N 71.41972°W / 41.80528; -71.41972Coordinates: 41°48′19″N 71°25′11″W / 41.80528°N 71.41972°W / 41.80528; -71.41972
Built 1910
Architect Banning & Thornton
Architectural style Classical Revival
NRHP Reference # 88003074 [1]
Added to NRHP December 29, 1988

Temple Beth-El, known locally as the Broad Street Synagogue,[2] is an historic Jewish synagogue at 688 Broad Street in Providence, Rhode Island.


The congregation was founded in 1849 when an Orthodox group known as the "Sons of Israel" gathered for daily services in Providence. In 1877, the congregation affiliated itself with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (later named the Union for Reform Judaism), the national Reform Judaism denomination. While Newport, Rhode Island had a well-established Sephardi Jewish community since the 17th century, few Sephardi Jews lived in Providence. The Jews of Providence who founded Temple Beth-El were predominantly Ashkenazi Jews from German-speaking areas. The majority of the early congregants at Temple Beth-El were immigrants from Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Poland.[citation needed]

The building was built in 1910-1911 and was the home of Sons of Israel until 1954.[2] After 1954, the building served the Shaare Zedek congregation.[2] In 2006, Shaare Zedek merged with Beth Shalom, and the Broad Street building was left vacant.[2]

Due in part to the housing crash of 2008, Beth Shalom was unable to sell the building, and it became neglected and vandalized.[3] In 2014, a developer purchased the building and the nonprofit Friends of Broad Street Synagogue was organized to turn the building into a community center.[3]

The building[edit]

The current temple building, a Classical Revival brick structure, was designed by Banning & Thornton and built in 1910-11.[4]

Architect Ira Rakatansky designed renovations to the building in 1955.[3] An iron fence was added to separate the synagogue from Broad Street in 1984.[3] The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.[1]

Vacant since 2006, the building suffers severe vandalism and water damage.[3] It has been named one of Providence's "Most Endangered Buildings" by the Providence Preservation Society three times.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Providence Department of Art, Culture, and Tourism". ArtsNow RI. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Timeline". Broad Street Synagogue. Friends of Broad Street Synagogue. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "NRHP nomination for Temple Beth-El" (PDF). Rhode Island Preservation. Retrieved 2014-10-31. 

External links[edit]