By COLlive reporter
When real estate agents Judy Friedman and Chaya Zarchi of B.H. Tal Real Estate in Crown Heights were recently hired to sell a property at 209 Rochester Avenue in Northern Crown Heights, they made a surprising discovery.
Visiting the 3-storey property, they discovered that within the building of the New Gethsemane Baptist Church there exists a shul that was left intact and preserved by its members.
The shul, which was called Congregation Ahavath Reyim, was operational from 1920 until 1968, when the property was purchased by the church, research showed.
Bishop McCants of the New Gethsemane Baptist Church says that they maintained all the original details to the best of their ability, including a fully operational mikvah, “as a show of respect to the Jewish heritage,” Chaya Zarchi told COLlive.
The building still contains the original Mikvah, a full women’s section on the third floor balcony, and a large marble memorial/ donor plaque engraved in gold.
The Jewish Star of David is prominently displayed on the façade of the handsome brick building, as well as on all the stained glass windows and on the ceiling of the entrance foyer.
Mass Jewish migration in the 1960s and 1970s from Crown Heights and East New York to Borough Park, Midwood and Williamsburg, caused many shuls to shut down due to lack of members.
“To find a Shul, perfectly preserved, half a century later, with this amount of history in it, is nothing short of miraculous,” Zarchi says.
The property is currently for sale through BH Tal Real Estate, for more information call 917-755-8432 or 347-432-3830.