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Valley Talks: “B’nai Israel: Woonsocket’s Gorgeous but Little-Known Synagogue”

Valley Talks, a series of biweekly historical lectures by the Museum of Work & Culture, a division of the Rhode Island Historical Society, continues Sunday, February 19 at 1:30pm on Zoom.

Join historian George M. Goodwin as he discusses Woonsocket’s B’nai Israel synagogue, designed by synagogue architect Samuel Glaser, and its importance to Rhode Island’s Jewish community. Woonsocket’s Jewish congregation, B’nai Israel, was founded in 1893, but did not build its own synagogue until 1962. Unfortunately, the congregation’s membership reached a peak of about 200 families during the 1960s. In recent decades, having struggled to survive, it now faces an uncertain future. What will become of Glaser’s masterpiece?

Individuals can register for the talk by visiting: https://bit.ly/3CAUX23

Goodwin is an art and architectural historian with a special interest in synagogues. He has served on the board of Rhode Island Historical Society. A past president of the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association, Goodwin has edited its journal, Rhode Island Jewish Historical Notes, for almost two decades. He also co-edited The Jews of Rhode Island, which was copublished by the University Press of New England and Brandeis University Press in 2004. He and his wife, Betsey, live in a 1920 Arts & Crafts bungalow, once the youngest “plaque house” honored by the Providence Preservation Society.

Other Valley Talks will include:

March 5: Writer Melody Desjardins will examine the relationship between French-Canadian folklore and current day Franco-Americans in search of a deeper connection between the two.


Feb 19, 2023
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
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Museum of Work & Culture
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