Boston Federation Gives Negro Community Buildings Worth $1,125,000

The Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston announced today it had purchased two buildings valued at $1,125,000 and contributed the structures as a gift of the Jewish community to the Boston Negro community for cultural and educational use. The buildings, formerly the property of Temple Mishkan Tefila, are located in what is now a predominantly Negro neighborhood.

Bernard D. Grossman, CJP president, emphasized that the funds to buy the buildings were obtained from private sources and that no funds from the current CJP fund-raising campaign were used. One of the buildings is a former synagogue with a 1,500-seat sanctuary, a chapel and a social hall. The other, a school building now occupied by the New England Hebrew Academy, has 20 classrooms, an auditorium, gymnasium and cafeteria, Miss Elma Lewis, one of the Negro community leaders with whom the project was discussed, accepted the gift for the Negro community. Transfer of the buildings will become effective July 1.

Dr. Benjamin Rosenberg, CJP executive director, said he believed the gift was the first such action by any community. It was arranged after discussions with Negro leaders in which the Jewish Community Council took part.

A number of Negro community organizations are cooperating with cultural groups in plans for a black Art Museum and Drama Center to be housed in the buildings. The complex also will house temporarily Boston’s first integrated metropolitan academic school. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which will have a major role in creating the black Art Museum, hailed the CJP gift.

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