Fallsburg Synagogue Ready For Centennial Celebrations
By Ted Waddell
SOUTH FALLSBURG May 11, 2007 In a cold snap, water pipes can break and cause a lot of damage.
A couple of months ago, during a sudden onslaught of chilly weather, an upstairs water pipe broke in the South Fallsburg Hebrew Association’s synagogue, and the resultant flooding damaged all three floors of the 100-year old building.
“A pipe froze and burst, and we had tremendous damage, from upstairs in the ladies section, to the first floor all the way down to the basement,” said Rabbi Yakov Barros.
Rabbi Barros served at a synagogue in San Francisco, California, for six years prior to taking over the spiritual leadership at the local shul two years ago.
The synagogue suffered damage to the ceilings, walls and floors. In addition, a lot of carpet was destroyed.
“There was steam all over the place and water dripping down the walls,” said Rabbi Barros of discovering the disaster. “This is a sanctuary and a monument for our ancestors, the generations who came before us, and we felt vandalized.”
The South Fallsburg Hebrew Association is home to more than 100 families, and offers a Hebrew School every Sunday from 10 a.m. until noon and a scholar-in-residence program.
Rabbi Barros singled out long-time members Harris Alport and Kenny Feldman with going all out to help get the synagogue back on its footings.
“Both of them have been working tirelessly, night and day to get the place ready for worship,” he said.
“The members have been working very hard, they are very local to the synagogue,” he added. “It’s a beautiful thing to see a membership so fully involved in preserving what their parents and grandparents have tried to uphold for centuries.”
Sheldon Dischner, vice-president of the association, is the third of his family’s five generations to worship at the synagogue.
“My great-grandfather Rubin came here, my son Chad was bar mitzvahed here and our five grandchildren had their namings here,” he said.
“The synagogue is a very intricate part of the community,” added Dischner. “It’s an active synagogue with a living Torah. It’s still thriving.”
On Sunday, June 10 at 9:30 a.m., Hungarian Holocaust Survivor Lola Schwartz-Lieber will speak at the synagogue.
The South Fallsburg Hebrew Association will celebrate it’s Centennial Anniversary on Sunday, July 1, starting at 11 a.m. A luncheon open to the community will follow.
For the last several months, members of the synagogue have been holding services in the basement.
But all that changed on Saturday, May 5, when the refurbished upper floors were reopened for worship after extensive repairs and renovations.
“We were very saddened by the flooding, but thank God the place is looking even better,” said Rabbi Barros.