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Corona’s Tifereth Israel nearing landmark status

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In a prepared statement, Robert B. Tierney, the commission's chairman, called Congregation Tifereth Israel in Corona "a modest reminder of a time... when Jewish communities first started to settle in the borough."Esther Khaimov, wife of Rabbi Amnun Khaimov, was pleased by the announcement, which effectively makes Tifereth Israel the first temple in Queens to be landmarked."Of course we're excited," she said. "And now we have a big jump in front of us. We have to fund-raise and to make events. This is a good hour, so let's start out on the right foot."The two-story, wood frame structure was built in 1911 and is believed to be the oldest purpose-built synagogue in Queens. The congregation boasts among its original congregants the cosmetics maven Estee Lauder.The congregation later constructed a mikveh, a ritual bath, on the same lot as the synagogue and opened a nearby yeshiva. The yeshiva was used in the mid-1970s by a band called The Breakfast Club as a music studio, where singer and actress Madonna lived from 1979-80.The synagogue's current congregants are mostly Bukharian Jews from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and other former Soviet Union republics.Khaimov said the temple has no fund-raising plans in place yet."We need some professionals for this," she said. "This is a big challenge we're facing."She asked anyone with fund-raising experience to mail the temple at 109-18 54th Avenue, Corona, NY 11368, or call 718-592-6254."The more people who open their hearts, the better," she said.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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