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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Congregation Ahavas Achim Anshi Austria
Reference Number 15000775
State New York
County Monroe
Town Rochester
Street Address 692 Joseph Avenue
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 11/9/2015
Areas of Significance Social History, Architecture
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Congregation Ahavas Achim Anshi Austria synagogue, now known as the Congregation B'Nai Israel synagogue, is significant under criterion A in the area of social history for its for its association with the Jewish Immigrant group, mostly from Austria, who settled in the northeast section of the city of Rochester in the early twentieth century. Joseph Avenue became the commercial center of an immigrant community that was home to a sizable Jewish middle and working class population, and the Congregation B'Nai Israel synagogue became a community gathering spot and worship center. Built in 1928, the building is also significant under Criterion C in the area of architecture as an example of early twentieth century Georgian Revival design, combining the historic tradition of the early American past with ancient Jewish tradition and ritual. The immigrant community was clearly embracing their adopted country by using historic American elements of colonial style pediments, columns and other decorative features, which also expressed their patriotism for their new home. A local draftsman, Louis H. Friedman (whose name appears on the plans), is credited with the design of the building. Friedman appears to have been influenced by another local architect, Siegmund Firestone. The construction of the synagogue predates Firestone's Jewish Young Men's and Women's Association Building (NR listed 1985) but shares similar design features such as prominent rounded windows, a facade divided by tall pilasters, use of paired casement windows, even fenestration and brick construction. The building was used as a synagogue until 1961 and is currently vacant, but plans are underway to rehabilitate the space as a community center. Recognizing its history and importance to the local community, the city designated the building as a local historic landmark in 2014.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria