Milestones, Spring 1995
In January WMF completed the first phase of restoration of the Tempel Synagogue in Cracow, a project launched and financed by the Jewish Heritage Council (JHC). An expert team of Polish architects and engineers completely replaced the building's standing seam metal roof and its related water handling system. John Stubbs, WMF Program Director, traveled to Cracow in February to review the work. Stubbs reported, "The finely-crafted new roof is a distinct improvement on the old one; revisions to critical design elements will improve performance of the roof, and ensure easier maintenance of the building in the future. The quality of the work is superb."
The project is currently on schedule-and under budget. Stubbs also met with WMF's Polish restoration team to plan the next phase-conservation of the sumptuous interior, replacement of the century-old coal burning heating system, installation of a new electrical system and consolidation of the foundations of the aisles.
Cracow's Tempel Synagogue is the only surviving I9th-century synagogue in Poland and one of the few synagogues from which we can today learn and celebrate the richness of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Since the Cracow Jewish Community invited the JHC to help restore the Tempel in I992, this flagship project has captured the attention of the Jewish community abroad, preservationists in Poland and throughout the world, and the Polish government. Donors to WMF's Jewish Heritage Council have been the major catalyst in launching this project.
A Project Identification Grant from The Getty Grant Program was instrumental in getting the project off the ground. Now, utilities services of the city of Cracow will provide 60% of the funding for the next phase.
In addition, the Civic Monuments Association of Cracow has given funds for the restoration of the Tempel's facade, to begin in April I 99 5. In a happy reversal of fortune, WMF has now been challenged to match these pledges by raising $91,000 in order to complete this phase of work-and begin the restoration of the interior. Once the conservation of this magnificent synagogue is completed, the Tempel will be used for worship by its congregation and visitors to Cracow, and by international cultural organizations as a performance hall and gathering space.
Major supporters of the first phase of the Tempel Synagogue restoration project are The Getty Grant Program, Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg, The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Cohen Charitable Trust and International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). WMF and the Jewish Heritage Council mourn the passing on March 25,1995 of Mr. Jacob Greenberg, and extend heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Joyce Z. Greenberg. The generosity of the Greenbergs since the inception of the Tempel project has been crucial to its success.