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JCAM Charitable Foundation
Receives Support for the East Boston Immigration Center Project

The JCAM Charitable Foundation gratefully acknowledges the generosity of The George B. Henderson Foundation Fund for the City of Boston in awarding a $40,000 grant for critical repairs to the Ohabei Shalom Chapel in East Boston.

The George B. Henderson Foundation has been awarding grant funds to communities and organizations of all origins for restorations of historic properties, park preservations, art installations and other projects focused on enhancing the physical appearance of the City of Boston.

The generosity of the organization’s founder, George B. Henderson, has, and still is improving the visual environment of numerous neighborhoods and enhancing the lives of their residents and visitors. (Read more at:  http://thehendersonfoundation.com/history.html)

Formerly a Jewish mortuary chapel, the Ohabei Shalom Chapel is currently being stabilized and preserved. The converted chapel will become the East Boston Immigration Center and will be restored to house traditional Jewish life cycle events as well as an interpretive exhibit on the history of immigration in the Boston area. The Chapel will provide an inspiring context for exhibits exploring the experiences of Jewish, Irish, Italian and other immigrant groups. The goal is to connect this shared history to the newly established immigrant communities from Latin America, Asia and Africa. JCAM will collaborate with local community organizations, such as MIRA, to provide the restored chapel facilities to organizations serving the immigrant communities living in the surround neighborhoods today as a resource and cultural center.

The Ohabei Shalom Cemetery, established in 1844 is the first Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts.  Both the Cemetery and Chapel are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and are now the last vestiges of East Boston’s immigration history.

Since 2006, the JCAM Charitable Foundation has spent close to $800,000 in preservation repairs to the Chapel, a building that was being slated for demolition before the JCAM board decided to do its utmost to save and revive the Chapel for active community use. Today, JCAM is seeking local partners such as the MIRA Coalition (Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition) to join in its ultimate plan to renovate the building for active use as a gathering place with particular focus on immigrant communities, a continuous thread to the early founders of what has become the Ohabei Shalom Cemetery.

 

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