Lezlee's Legacy Sanctuary Fundraiser

Dear Family, Friends and Members of the Nyack Community,

The Project:
100 years after my Jewish ancestors helped conceive and raise money to build Nyack’s first synagogue, I am carrying on their legacy by organizing a special fundraiser to help renovate the same beautiful sanctuary which is now the Berea Nyack 7th-Day Adventist Church. In life, it is natural to crave knowledge about family history, strengthen connections, and spend time doing something meaningful, helpful, and spiritual. This project connects the past with the present to preserve a spiritual landmark. My goal is to raise $50,000 for the renovation of the sanctuary.

Nyack in the 1920s included a very small but dedicated group of Jewish families who dreamed of having a permanent synagogue. My paternal ancestors, the Peterzells and Entlichs, were Jewish Nyack merchants and members of this small Jewish congregation. The Ladies Hebrew Aid Society organized the congregation to purchase land in Nyack at the corner of Hudson Avenue and Broadway. In 1924, they initially raised $25,000 to begin the construction of The Temple Israel. The stately yellow brick building with magnificent stained glass windows was completed in 1925. My grandfather, Saul Peterzell, who was only eleven years old at the time, delivered a beautiful and moving tribute that was printed in the local newspaper, on Sept. 14, 1925.
For decades, Temple Israel was Nyack’s center of Jewish Life. The Jewish community in Nyack grew from 50 to 60 families in the 1930s and 40s to over 100 families in the late 1950s. In the early 1960s, the Congregation Sons of Israel Building Committee raised funds to expand and build on North Broadway. In 1966, they sold the original synagogue to the Seventh-Day Adventists- Berea Nyack SDA Church.

Dr. Frances Pratt, former President of the NAACP of Nyack and a longtime member of the Berea Nyack SDA Church, recently invited me to the 11 am Saturday Sabbath church service. Sitting next to her, inside this house of worship, listening to the soulful music, feeling the warm light shine down on me through the original stained glass windows, I felt God and my great-grandparents’ spirit with me. I felt at home. The
original Jewish ladies raised $25,000. Again, my goal is $50,000 for the renovation of the sanctuary. (Your donation is Tax-Deductible)

In August 2023, my family will be moving full-time to St. Augustine, FL. It is important to me that I contribute something meaningful to Nyack. I am passionate about this project- my own historical legacy to preserve the beauty of today’s very special, historical, and spiritual house of worship.

Saturday Sabbath services 11:00am
Berea Nyack SDA Church
67 S. Broadway
Nyack, NY 10960

Thank you for your monetary or other contributions
1. GoFundMe link can also be found on the church website- www.bereasdaonline.org
2. Checks should be made payable to Berea Nyack SDA Church (PO Box 130, Nyack NY 10960)

Lezlee Peterzell-Bellanich
(formerly Leslie Peterzell)

Organizer and beneficiary

JoAnne Thompson
Nyack, NY
Vivian Crooks

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