'Lost' synagogue reopens at historic prison

April 1, 2009 12:50:57 PM PDT
A synagogue once used by Jewish inmates at a historic Philadelphia prison has been refurbished and will open to the public this weekend. Eastern State Penitentiary closed in 1971 and has since become a popular tourist attraction.

But even as officials worked to preserve parts of the decaying property, the synagogue remained forgotten and fell into ruin. It had been built around 1924 and used continuously until the prison closed.

About a year ago, conservators began restoring the room for worship, replacing rotted benches and a fallen ceiling.

On Wednesday, it was reconsecrated as a holy space. The public will be able to tour the synagogue beginning Saturday.

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