“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted unanimously during its July 7 meeting to award the KAM Isaiah Israel a $250,000 grant for exterior renovations from its Adopt-a-Landmark Fund.
“The Kenwood synagogue, 1100 E. Hyde Park Blvd., is already partway through a $5 million project that will fix the domed roof, replace the restrooms and repair the exterior masonry and interior plaster.
“KAM Isaiah Israel was created when two congregations, KAM (Kehilath Anshe Ma’arav — “Congregation of the Men of the West,”) and Temple Isaiah Israel, merged in 1971. But both congregations have long histories in the neighborhood and Chicago. KAM was organized in 1847 and Temple Isaiah Israel traces its roots through its antecedent Kehillah B’nai to 1852. Prior to organizing, KAM Isaiah Israel traces its roots back to the arrival of some of the first Jewish settlers in Chicago (approx. 1841), and remains the Midwest’s oldest Jewish congregation.
“The synagogue itself was designed by architect Alfred S. Alschuler and constructed in 1924. Six years after the congregations merged, the building was designated by the city as an official Chicago Landmark.
“‘It is one of the city’s oldest synagogues, tracing its roots back to the earliest days of Chicago,’ said Ward Miller, Executive Director of Preservation Chicago. ‘(The grant) really is a wonderful commitment by the city of Chicago to an esteemed landmark.’
“Per the synagogue’s budget submitted in its grant application to the Landmark Commission, the total cost of this window restoration is estimated to be about $430,000. This leaves a little more than $180,000 for the congregation to cover.
“KAM’s stained glass windows, which are about 98-years-old, include depictions of the prophet Isaiah and Moses with the Ten Commandments. For the restoration, the synagogue will use Daprato Rigali Studios, 6030 N. Northwest Highway, historic preservation architects with experience working on houses of worship. Rigali studios are also working on the larger renovation project.” (Monaghan and Faris, Hyde Park Herald, 7/7/22)