The JCAM Charitable Foundation is moving forward with plans to restore and transform the historic Ohabei Shalom Chapel into the East Boston Immigration Center. The Exhibit Hall will bring the richness of Jewish life, culture, family and business found in the early Mystic River communities of East Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop in a unique, educational, and historical setting; making this Boston’s premier Jewish tourist and visitor destination.
The Exhibit Hall will be designed with state-of-the-art computerized imagery throughout. The oral histories recorded through videotaping and artifacts attractively displayed will allow visitors to interactively hear and learn what life was like in these bustling immigrant neighborhoods.
The design of the Exhibit Hall will reflect the “chapelness” of the existing building, being mindful of the Victorian era in which it was built, yet allowing 21st century innovation and technology to meld the legacy of the past with the advancement of Boston’s Jewish culture into the future.
The chapel Exhibit Hall is at the historic Ohabei Shalom Cemetery, founded in 1844. It will be a unique experience for visitors and educational groups to take in the sights, sounds, stories and artifacts from those towns along the Mystic River that bubbled with Jewish life, faith, music, culture, business and enthusiasm.
The Massachusetts Preservation Project Fund – Round 22 has awarded a $50,000 matching grant to the JCAM Charitable Foundation for critical repairs to the Ohabei Shalom Chapel exterior.
Formerly a Jewish mortuary chapel, the Ohabei Shalom Chapel will become the East Boston Immigration Center 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.
You can help restore and preserve the memories and history of the Jewish communities along the Mystic River. We need* photographs and artifacts to display in the Exhibit Hall, oral histories to record, and volunteers to help with this exciting project. To help, click on the online “Help Us” form. A representative will contact you. Also, you can make a tax-deductible monetary donation to the project, please click on "Donations." Your support is greatly appreciated.
Together we can bring back the vibrant spirit of our pioneering ancestors who worked hard and sacrificed much for our future. Now the future is here and we owe it to them to cherish and uphold their memories and make them our own. Help us save the Ohabei Shalom Chapel and open the doors to the new Boston Jewish Immigration History exhibit hall! Thank you.
*All materials such as photographs, articles, and printed matter will be reproduced and original items returned to their owners.
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