attended High Holiday services; married at Shaare Zedek
Rev. Ethan Adler is Spiritual Leader of Congregation Beth David in Narragansett, Rhode Island. After Shaare Zedek was closed he helped arrange for items from the building – including benches and a marble Ten Commandments – to be sent to the Jewish community center and synagogue in Narragansett.
Ethan Adler: I grew up in Providence, and my first encounter [with the synagogue at 688 Broad Street] was when I met what eventually became my future wife, whose family belonged to Shaare Zedek. So I started attending services there with her.
I remember it was big, I remember it was fancy. It was Orthodox, so a lot of the men sat in the front and the women basically either sat in the back or they sat upstairs. They used these old black – especially for the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur – they used these old black prayer books that just seemed like you’d never get through it.
I actually lived on the East Side and I did walk there. Took a while, but I did there.
It was a beautiful, beautiful place. It was huge. Lots of people there. Good sense of community at least within the temple.
We actually did get married at Shaare Zedek. They also had a big downstairs. It was like a big social hall. So we had our reception down there.
They actually took a lot of the accouterments from the temple and donated it to various temples and organizations. They’ve donated the Torahs. They’ve donated the benches. So there’s really nothing there, but the building is still there. It would be a shame to just let it go.
[It was] a real important piece of South Providence history. Even though the people are gone and the insides have been sort of gutted out.
I know at one time it was a glorious place. And time took its toll.