About JCAM Information

JCAM Charitable Foundation
Receives MA Preservation Project Award
for the East Boston Immigration Center Project

The Massachusetts Preservation Project Fund, as part of Round 22, has awarded a $50,000 matching grant to the JCAM Charitable Foundation for critical repairs to the Ohabei Shalom Chapel exterior.

The Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF) is a state-funded 50% reimbursable matching grant program established in 1984 to support the preservation of properties, landscapes, and sites (cultural resources) listed in the State Register of Historic Places. Applicants must be a municipality or nonprofit organization.

Historic cultural resources in public and nonprofit ownership and use frequently suffer from deferred maintenance, incompatible use, or are threatened by demolition. These important resources represent a significant portion of the Commonwealth’s heritage. By providing assistance to historic cultural resources owned by nonprofit or municipal entities, the Massachusetts Historical Commission hopes to ensure their continued use and integrity.

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. ┬áBoth 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.

Previously, JCAM-CF received a $40,000 grant from The George B. Henderson Foundation Fund for the City of Boston. The Henderson Foundation awards 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.

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