B'nai Israel Synagogue

B'nai Israel Synagogue (HM4BK)

Location: Baltimore, MD 21202
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 17.394', W 76° 36.067'

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(originally Chizuk Amuno Synagogue)

The B'nai Israel Synagogue, erected in 1876, is the longest actively-used synagoue in Baltimore. It was built by Congregation Chizuk Amuno ("Strengthening of the Faith"), whose members had seceded from the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in 1870 to protest changes in traditonal Jewish practice and ritual. The traditionalists were led by Jonas Friedenwald, whose family exercised such influence over the congregation that for many years Chizuk Amuno was known as the Friedenwald Schul (or, "Friedenwald Synagogue").

The synagogue was designed by Henry Berge, a stonework contractor and self-taught architect. Its design, though highly eclectic, primarily reflects the Moorish Revival style, which was thought suitable for synagogues because of its Near Eastern connection. Significant interior features include the majestic hand-carved Torah ark in the sanctuary and the massive central brass chandelier, installed bfore 1890 and one of the earliest major electric fixtures still in use in Baltimore.

Congregation B'nai Israel ("Sons of Israel") purchased the synagogue from Chizuk Amuno in 1895 and has worshipped here ever since. Founded in 1873, B'nai Israel was the first Baltimore congregation organized by residents of Russian origin. The synagogue became known as the Russisheh Schul ("Russian Synagogue") to distinguish it from the older German congregations.

The Jewish Historical Society of Maryland (now the Jewish Museum of Maryland) acquired and restored the synagogue in 1983-1986. The restoration received historic preservation awards from the American Society of Interior Designers and the Maryland Historical Trust.
HM NumberHM4BK
Series This marker is part of the Maryland: Baltimore City Historical Markers series
Placed ByThe City of Baltimore, Sun Life Insurance Company of America, sponsor and Clarence "Du" Burns, mayor, rededicated 2005 by Martin O'Malley, mayor
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 3:27am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 361920 N 4350169
Decimal Degrees39.28990000, -76.60111667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 17.394', W 76° 36.067'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 17' 23.64" N, 76° 36' 4.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 410, 443
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 55-99 Lloyd St, Baltimore MD 21202, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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