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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776
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Last Orthodox Shul in Fall River, Massachusetts Becomes Church


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Congregation Adas Israel, the last of several orthodox synagogues that once served the Jews of Fall River, Massachusetts – will be handing the keys over to a new group of worshippers – congregants of The Word of Life Community Church.

For the first time since it opened its doors in 1959, Adas Israel did not hold Shabbat services at the house of prayer, having sold the building to evangelical Christians for $400,000 through a real estate agent who was also a congregant at the synagogue, according to a regional newspaper, the Herald News.

The pastor of the church, Donat Boucher, moved his followers to the new building after renting several locations since starting his own church out of his dining room in 2007.

Though the 248 seats used to be too few to hold the throngs attending Shabbat and holiday services, young Jews have moved away, until less than two dozen active members passed regularly through the mezuzah-studded doors.

Temple Beth-El, a conservative synagogue, will provide room for Adas Israel’s Orthodox congregants to perform their own prayer services, and will now be the only Jewish house of worship in Fall River.

According to the Herald News, most of the Jewish symbols and plaques have been removed from the chapel, except for some “distinctive Hebrew words affixed to a wall, near a large wooden cross recently installed behind the podium,” reading “Know before whom you stand.”

Malkah Fleisher

About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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