“When an old synagogue downsizes, what do you do with all its stuff?”

That was a title of an article (by Alanna E. Cooper) that caught my attention. Downsizing at home is not the only place with its challenges. It’s an issue for many churches and other religious institutions with the decline of memberships or moving into a smaller and often modern and/or accessible space. The question becomes, what to do with a family name plaque, stained glass windows, maybe outdated prayer books, uncomfortable pews/chairs, different religious artifacts. Even when a religious institution moves, not everything from the original site could fit in the new place due to different layout/style and/or fragile state of the objects. Granted some members take them home, which then becomes a problem when it adds clutter to their own home. A topic for another time.

Wise advice still applies whether for downsizing a home or a church is to be picky what to keep. Think quality over quantity. Every object has to have a home, not to store in the attic, garage, closet or basement to deal with later that becomes never. Even if your family paid for multiple plaques, do you really want to have all of them at your home or just one to represent all or none?

Granted some people don’t like change. Change can also be a good thing such as more comfortable seats, easy to hold not falling apart prayer books, or more light in the space easier to see. To help honor a memory before the move or thinking about taking objects home, consider taking pictures instead. Photo are a good aid to memories, and don’t take up a lot of space.

What was the best part about the new space of your religious institution?


2 thoughts on ““When an old synagogue downsizes, what do you do with all its stuff?””

    1. Jews traditionally dispose of seder books and other prayer books respectfully. For information and suggestions, try calling a local synagogue office.

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