Mt. Calvary / Shara Tfilo Campus Study Report
The Mt. Calvary Holy Church / Congregation Shara Tfilo Synagogue Campus at 9 – 19 Otisfield Street is significant on the local, state, regional, and national levels for its extraordinary role in the history of immigration, the development of working-class communities and institutions, and the succession of ethnic groups throughout time and space. The two occupants of this property — Congregation Shara Tfilo and Mt. Calvary Holy Church — exemplify the vibrant Jewish and Black communities that developed successively in Roxbury in the 20th and 21st centuries. The structures built here in the early 20th century, although modest in their architectural design, evoke a powerful sense of the cultural priorities of the Jewish and Black communities for nearly 125 years. The original synagogue building and Hebrew school are largely intact and are prominently located at the interface of a residential district with the commercial and institutional spine of Blue Hill Avenue.
Unoccupied since 2013, the Mt. Calvary / Shara Tfilo property is threatened by deferred maintenance and potential redevelopment. The purpose of this designation is to honor and preserve the history of spiritual, educational, and social services at the properties, as home to an Eastern European immigrant community for 50 years and to the Black community for the last half-century. The Mt. Calvary Holy Church congregation and other community members are working to develop plans for both immediate repairs and long-term renovations of the entire complex. It is hoped that landmark designation will increase funding opportunities for restoration and renovation of the buildings, courtyard, and adjacent garden space, to perpetuate their traditional uses of community-building, education, and public service.
(Report amended as of September 16, 2022)
The proposed designation will be discussed and voted upon at a public hearing on September 27, 2022. Please look for the meeting notice in the public notices section of our website.