Historic Buffalo synagogue building demolished
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Historic Buffalo synagogue building demolished

Structure from 1903, used as a church since the 1960s, destroyed despite protesters who chained themselves to the edifice

Historic synagogue building in Buffalo, NY, as it is being destroyed. (photo credit: Facebook/Fixbuffalo)
Historic synagogue building in Buffalo, NY, as it is being destroyed. (photo credit: Facebook/Fixbuffalo)

The oldest synagogue in Buffalo, New York, was demolished despite the efforts of two demonstrators who chained themselves to a pillar in the building.

The Jefferson Avenue building was demolished on Saturday after the demonstrators, identified as David Torke and Rabbi Drorah Setel, were peacefully removed and detained by police, the Buffalo News reported.

Police said the building posed a safety hazard and thus was condemned. Preservationists said it should have been listed as a historical landmark.

The building, which was designed in 1903 by A.E. Mink, once was the home of Congregation Ahavath Sholem, also known as the Jefferson Avenue Shul. It was sold in 1960 to Saints Home Church of God and later to Greater New Hope Church of God in Christ, which owned it for about 30 years. The building has been empty since 2005.

At first the demolition crew did not realize there were people in the building. Eight other demonstrators remained outside the structure.

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