CT News

Danielson synagogue receives grant to help preserve its past

DANIELSON – The Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society in Danielson has been awarded a grant from The Last Green Valley, Inc. to be used towards honoring the Temple’s founders and preserving its historic past. Temple Beth Israel is listed in both the Connecticut and National Registers of Historic Places.

The Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society is a non-profit, multi-cultural center committed to honoring the founders, especially the Holocaust survivors whose participation in Temple life helped them acclimate to life in America.

The grant from Last Green Valley will provide an index of documents, immigration papers, photos, newspaper articles, videos, and the like, that are related to the Temple’s founders. The final product will be a single hard drive containing all interviews as separate files, which will be copied on DVDs and made available for learning purposes to 2200 television access cable television stations, historical societies, schools, community colleges, etc.

The award of The Last Green Valley grant follows a 2017 grant received by the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society from the Daughters of the American Revolution to produce a television program honoring the founders of the Temple (see “Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society Receives DAR Grant,” Ledger, August 18, 2017.)

As a result of the DAR grant, Amherst Media is producing a one-hour television program based on 26 interviews the production company conducted with Beth Israel founders and their descendants. This most recent grant from The Last Green Valley will preserve the 26 hours of interviews conducted as part of the Amherst Media production, in addition to more than 500 documents, immigration papers, etc.

“The Connecticut state legislature has recently passed a bill stating that all school districts in the state must teach about the Holocaust and genocide. The materials that the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society is looking to organize and distribute will be absolutely perfect for teachers and students looking to expand their study of Holocaust-related topics,” noted Stephen Armstrong,a social studies consultant with the Connecticut Department of Education, in a letter of supporting sent to Last Green Valley promoting the Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society as a grant recipient.

“Many Connecticut teachers and students are starved for new teaching materials on this and similar topics. In my role at the Connecticut State Department of Education, I have already promised that I would assist Temple Beth Israel Preservation Society in publicizing these materials to teachers across the state,” added Armstrong, who is also a past president of both the National Council for the Social Studies and the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies. “With the passage of the legislation, we will be entering into a ‘golden age’ of Holocaust and Holocaust-related topics. We want to be able to provide teachers and students with as many materials as humanly
possible.”

The Beth Israel Preservation Society seeks to create an archive documenting the history of the community through films, books, letters, photographs, oral histories and other historical artifacts that bear witness to the remarkable contributions of both the Holocaust survivors and their liberators who joined the Beth Israel community. The Society also collaborates with schools, colleges and cultural institutions in creating valuable and unique learning opportunities of how the Holocaust survivors embraced America.”

The Last Green Valley is a non-profit organization charged by the National Park Service with oversight of The Last Green Valley Heritage Corridor, which stretches between Boston and Washington, DC. The Last Green Valley has awarded more than $1 million in historic and cultural preservation grants to organizations throughout the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor, which spans 35 towns and cities from Preston, Connecticut to East Brookfield, Massachusetts.

“The history of the National Heritage Corridor is rich and varied.  Our history really is American history, but some of it is in danger of being lost. These grants can help preserve it,” explains the organization’s executive director, Lois Bruinooge.

CAP: Temple Beth Israel

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