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Pennsylvania is opening a long-shuttered prison synagogue to the public.
The prison, now a tourist attraction, has not held prisoners in 35 years and the small synagogue had been largely neglected since then, seen only by a handful of historians, preservationists and special guests. At the peak, the prison held as many as 80 Jewish inmates.
The synagogue was built in the 1920s under the leadership of Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist Alfred Fleisher, who was president of the Eastern State Penitentiary Board of Trustees at the time. He attended Jewish services at Eastern State until his death in 1928. Jewish inmates named the synagogue the Alfred Fleisher Memorial Synagogue, “as a lasting memorial of the kindness and justice Fleisher has always shown,” the historic site said.