When congregants enter the Seashore Haven Jewish Heart in Gravesend, Brooklyn, they go a small plaque hanging simply outdoors the primary sanctuary.
“Fred Trump. Humanitarian,” declare the gold embossed, all-caps letters. “Let this plaque be a token of our sincerest appreciation, by no means to be forgotten, all the time to be a shining mild to all males who’ve religion.”
The plaque, inscribed Dec. 15, 1956, is probably the most seen reminder of an unlikely and principally unknown friendship between the Lutheran actual property developer — and father of President Trump — and this enclave of Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.
“I’d say that the Seashore Haven Jewish Heart wouldn’t be what it’s at present, if not for Mr. Fred Trump,” Rabbi Shimmy Silver instructed The Submit. “We’re grateful for his kindness and without end indebted to him for what he has executed for our neighborhood,”
Within the 1950s, Brooklyn’s Jewish neighborhood was exploding as new arrivals — lots of them Holocaust survivors — tried to start new lives.
This offered a dilemma for Rabbi Israel Wagner, whose congregation was beginning to outgrow the storage of a constructing in Fred Trump’s Seashore Haven growth advanced the place it had been beforehand assembly.
So in 1955, he got down to meet the owner.
Wagner, a local of Poland, wasn’t positive what to anticipate when he met Fred Trump. They’d by no means spoken and the rabbi solely knew the true property magnate by his powerful repute.
The 2 hit it off instantly. Trump donated the land on Brooklyn’s Avenue Z, to Wagner’s congregation. A deed of sale from October 1955 exhibits the land formally transferring from Fred to the brand new Jewish heart for $10. The elder Trump additionally financed a lot of the development prices, as the brand new home of worship was born a yr later.
Trump and Wagner’s “mutual love, respect, and friendship solely deepened over the following 48 years,” reads the synagogue web site — the place the story is prominently featured.
Inside a small synagogue archive, modern information and photographs inform extra of the story.
Trump by no means missed the synagogues’s annual fundraiser dinner, which he attended all through the 1970s and 80s — usually reducing checks for $2,500 and $3,500.
Pristinely preserved black and white photographs present a beaming Trump standing alongside Wagner, the person he known as “my rabbi.”
The temple continued good relations with the Trump household even after Fred Trump’s dying in 1999. When Wagner’s widow turned 90 in Israel within the mid-2010s, Donald Trump despatched birthday needs, in accordance with Rabbi Silver.
Some older members nonetheless have recollections of Fred Trump, and his sons Donald and Fred Jr., bouncing across the previous household workplaces simply down the road on Avenue Z.
As for present politics, Rabbi Silver mentioned he was happy with new Israel safety treaties secured by the president, however was in any other case mum, declining to opine about subsequent month’s election.
“We’re a synagogue and Jewish neighborhood heart. Our sole focus is strengthening the Jewish identification and observance of our neighborhood,” he mentioned.