An update on a story the Jewish Light covered closely on the closing of B’nai Sholom synagogue in Quincy, Ill. The first time we wrote about it was in 2017, after the congregation had spent two years working with the Jewish Community Legacy Project (JCLP), a nonprofit that helps small Jewish congregations with no membership growth, aging congregants, and dwindling leadership. Based in Atlanta, JCLP works with numerous small congregations, helping to sort out their finances and determine what to do with their property and possessions.
When B’nai Sholom closed in 2019, the synagogue was the oldest in Illinois.
Today, the shul’s historic artifacts and documents reside in Cincinnati at the American Jewish Archives. Minutes of early meetings were written in German, the native language of Quincy’s first Jewish residents.
Some of B’nai Sholom’s monetary assets, including funds realized from the recent sale of the building, went towards legacy endowments managed by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. An additional endowment went to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. The Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois & Northeast Missouri manages another legacy endowment for programs in that region.
A number of other organizations important to the members of B’nai Sholom received one-time grants, as did JCLP itself.
After extensive research and communication, the synagogue’s four Torahs were donated to worthy congregations elsewhere. One was brought to a Reform synagogue in Unna, Germany, the original home of a B’nai Sholom board member’s parents, while another was recently delivered to a shul outside of Jakarta, Indonesia by Kulanu, the international organization that supports isolated, emerging and returning Jewish communities around the globe.