Decalogue in front of curtains and a crown. Who painted it? An elderly relative of Rabbi Small who saw the photos said: “As far
Before Rabbi Amy Joy Small joined Congregation Ohavi Zedek in 2016, she didn’t think much about synagogue murals. But she was immediately taken by the history and power of the Lost Shul Mural – which greeted her upon arrival at OZ, and which she has only seen in its new setting hanging high in the synagogue vestibule. But almost by magnetic attraction she has found another previously unknown synagogue mural still in situ in a derelict wooden synagogue up the road from a former family Bungalow Colony in New York State’s Catskills, in Sullivan County. Rabbi Small’s parents and grandparents were familiar with this synagogue mural of lions flanking the Decalogue. They supported its establishment and even donated the Torah scrolls in the early 20th century.
The small wooden synagogue, abandoned for many decades, has not – to the best of our knowledge been fully documented before, even though many of the other synagogues in the area were studied almost twenty years ago and many were subsequently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mural in this small shul is a simple one of lions supporting a Decalogue in front of curtains and a crown. Who painted it? An elderly relative of Rabbi Small who saw the photos said: “As far as a mural, the only mural painter in and around Mountaindale was Nathan (Nutti) Kramer.” The lost Shul Mural team is now in contact with local preservationists and historians in the Catskills area about the future of this simple, but significant, example of Jewish immigrant traditional religious painting. Surviving synagogue murals of this types are extremely rare – so was find merely a coincidence we can chalk up to “Jewish geography,” or was it bershert?