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Grants Awarded to Three Historic Religious Properties in Brooklyn

Sites in Park Slope, Crown Heights and Borough Park will receive funding for various restoration projects.

Three religious landmarks in Brooklyn will receive grants thanks to the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

The conservancy announced 14 Sacred Sites Grants totaling $228,000, awarded to 14 historic religious properties throughout New York State, according to a news release. 

In Brooklyn, $25,000 will go to Congregation Kol Israel in Crown Heights to help fund roof replacement, skylight restoration, and parapet repair; $20,000 to Young Israel Beth El of Borough Park to help fund masonry restoration; and $11,500 to Old First Reformed Church in Park Slope to help fund stained glass restoration.

“We are delighted that our grants will help these diverse congregations maintain their buildings and continue to serve their communities with social service and cultural programs,” said Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy. ”These 14 congregations reach a total of 60,000 people beyond their congregations with no-cost or low-cost services."

The Sacred Sites Program provides congregations with matching grants for planning and implementing exterior restoration projects, along with technical assistance and workshops. 

Congregation Kol Israel in Crown Heights

Designed by Brooklyn architect Tobias Goldstone and constructed in 1927-1928, Kol Israel’s façade reflects the 1920's phenomenon of the so-called Semitic style, combining Moorish and Byzantine Revival ornament with Judaic motifs. The congregation reaches about 400 people annually beyond its membership through activities such as community meals and elementary school "moving up" ceremonies.

Young Israel Beth El of Borough Park

Young Israel Beth El of Borough Park, the former Temple Beth-El of Borough Park, was designed by architects Shampan and Shampan in a grand version of the "Semitic" style - combining Moorish ornament with Judaic motifs, a stylistic phenomenon that developed in mid-19th century Europe, and reached its greatest expression in the 1920s.

Constructed in 1920-1923, the synagogue was described at the time by The New York Times as “a new house of worship of unusual beauty.” This sanctuary provided a fitting backdrop for the world-renowned cantors who helped win the synagogue fame as “Brooklyn’s Carnegie Hall.”

The synagogue reaches about 1,200 people a year through activities such as a Talmud study group and other classes and lectures, and bi-annual concerts and local schools use the sanctuary as the site for graduations.

Old First Reformed Church in Park Slope

Old First Reformed Church is an example of the late Gothic Revival or neo-Gothic style. The Arts and Crafts interior is lavishly decorated with coffered ceilings and figural art-glass stained glass windows. 

The congregation reaches about 9,000 people outside its membership through activities such as the Old First Nursery School, 12-step programs, feeding programs and community meals, winter clothing collection and distribution. The church hosts a girl scout troop, after school, vacation, and summer workshops and programs such as the White Bird Summer Theater Workshop, Brooklyn Youth Music Project, Music for Babies, the Brooklyn Acting Lab and hosts many music performances by area groups.