A Tiny Ancient South Philly Synagogue Will Be Featured in this Year’s Hidden City Festival

Earlier this week, Hidden City announced the locations for their 2013 Festival, which will take place this coming summer. In the coming weeks, we’ll not only give some more details on the festival itself, but also on some of the unique and interesting locales they’ve chosen to highlight. Today, we bring 2015 S. 4th St. to your attention, also known as¬†Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel.

The building

In the early part of the 20th century, South Philadelphia was home to a huge Jewish population. Several synagogues were to be found, and the building that eventually became the Stiffel Center at 6th & Porter was one of the community hubs. According to the Jewish Exponent, the synagogue pictured above was founded in 1909, and was converted from a storefront. It hosted a large congregation in the early days, but its membership has dwindled down to eight dues paying members as the Jewish community in the neighborhood has continually shrunk in the last few decades.

Closer look

In 2007, the building was condemned by L&I, due to an unstable rear wall. Fortunately, a fundraising effort was able to shore up the wall and preserve the building and the congregation. This summer, it will host musical performances, a knitting workshop, a speaker series, and will host Saturday morning services as usual.

Interior shot. Image from Hidden City.

Hopefully, the Hidden City Festival will bring some new attention to this Jewish landmark, which will assist in the congregation’s current fundraising effort to raise $50K for needed renovations. And with those renovations, we can imagine this landmark continuing to stand for generations to come as an example of Jewish life in South Philadelphia before World War I.