Montana Jewish Project reaches goal to buy back Helena's Temple Emanu-El

Officials with the Montana Jewish Project said Thursday they have bought back Helena’s Temple Emanu-El, the oldest synagogue in Montana, returning it for Jewish use for the first time since 1935.

The synagogue, historically  referred to as the Temple Emanu-El, is across the street from the Cathedral of St. Helena on Ewing Street, and had housed the Diocese of Helena since 1981. The Diocese has moved its offices into a new space called the Center for Catholic Life in the Seeley Building downtown. Montana Jewish Project (MJP) leaders said earlier they saw an opportunity to return ownership of the synagogue to the Jewish community. 

A ceremonial signing will take place at 10 a.m. Friday at 515 N. Ewing St. with Roman Catholic Bishop Austin Vetter. This event is open to the public.

“Now that we have the building as our base, we want to pivot and immediately transition to helping Jewish life in Montana thrive,” Rebecca Stanfel, president of the Montana Jewish Project’s board. She said t was important to hire a professional who can oversee this and create new cultural pathways for Montana Jews to connect to their traditions.

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