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New York Synagogue Wins Battle Against Demolition by City

A 400-member congregation on New York’s Lower East Side has won its fight to keep its synagogue from being condemned and wrecked to make room for a housing project. After several years of legal battles, the New York Housing Authority has agreed that the congregation can keep the building if it can obtain a mortgage to finance its purchase.

The synagogue was actually sold to the Housing Authority by the official trustees of the congregation, originally the Temple of Sineer and Vilna, most of whose original members have moved out of the area. The worshippers who remained, now organized under the name of Temple Beth Haknesses, however, refused to leave the temple and would accept no substitute buildings offered by the Housing Authority. The Authority paid $124,000 for the building and has agreed to take $15,000 in cash and a mortgage if the present congregation members can obtain a bank loan.