NORWICH – Following a lengthy restoration process, the Norwich Jewish Center will open its doors for a dedication celebration from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 72 South Broad Street in Norwich.
“We are celebrating the fact we have been able to reconstruct this iconic building to its functional use,” said James Fertig, leader of the center’s restoration project. “The people of Norwich are wonderful; they saw the injustice, were horrified, and stood behind us to offer support.”
The center's restoration became a necessity after it was vandalized in April of 2008. No persons were physically harmed during the incident, but much of the historic interior was destroyed. The perpetrators were found to be three local youths. This was not the first recorded incident to take place at the center – according to reports, a hate crime took place at the center in 2003 – but the 2008 vandalism proved to be the most damaging.
The Norwich Jewish Center's congregants range from Orthodox to Reform, as it is the only facility of its kind in the immediate area. It is a turn-of-the century colonial revival home that is on the National Historic Registry.
A press release from the Norwich City Police Department when the incident occurred read, “the entire interior of the large three-story structure was vandalized.” Investigation was underway involving the NPD, the New York State Police, and the FBI as an anti-Semitic message was found to be written on the blackboard of the Hebrew school in the interior of the building, and it had to be determined if the assault was a hate crime.