Synagogue postcards exhibit to see at home

In an earlier post today, I highlighted a video where post cards were used to tell a bit about Iran’s history. Here’s another interesting use of postcards.

The Web site of the National Museum of Jewish History has a page dedicated to postcards of synagogues from across the U.S. The 61 postcards featured are of synagogues that have played an important role in the communities where they were built. In some cases, according to the description of the on-line exhibit, the buildings no longer exist, and the communities may have disappeared as well. In other cases, the synagogue may have been remodeled since the postcard was made. The exhibit moves through the states in alphabetical order.

One interesting detail is how many of the synagogues got their start when the community bought land for a cemetery. Also of note, is how the architecture of many of the buildings reflect Judaism’s connection to the Middle East.

The exhibit also points out how postcards have been an important way for travelers to stay connected to people back home. In the case of these postcards, synagogues were a popular subject for Jewish people who were looking to highlight an aspect of their journey.

The collection is wonderful. Personally, I love the soft, nostalgic tones of old postcards. This collection is an interesting addition to an American history lesson. The postcard featured here is of the Stone Avenue Temple in Tucson. Today it’s on the National Register of Historic Places and is where the Jewish Heritage Center of the Southwest is located. Keep reading to see what the building looks like today.

According to the Jewish Heritage Center’s Web site, the first synagogue in Tucson was constructed in 1910 by Jewish pioneers, but was relocated in 1949. The stained glass windows are close reproductions of the original. Click here for an inside view.

I found all this out by starting off with the postcard. Until a few minutes ago, I didn’t know that Tucson had a Jewish Heritage Center, or that Jewish pioneers settled there almost 100 years ago.

Think about all the buildings we pass by that we don’t know much about, or what it may have looked like when it was first built. Postcards are one way to chronicle the story.