Dr. Wendy Soltz conceived of the Indiana Synagogue Mapping Project (ISMP) in 2018 while Executive Director of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society (IJHS). Over five years, Soltz made 45 survey stops and conducted archival research to reveal and document 66 purpose-built synagogues across the State of Indiana from 1865-2015. The survey concluded that Indiana’s Jewish congregations are merging and closing, and synagogues are being abandoned and demolished at an alarming rate. Twenty-four temples (including nine of the original eleven 19th-century synagogues) have already been destroyed, and several others are in danger of being razed. Thankfully, we now have thousands of photographs and documents to tell the story of the 42 Indiana synagogues still standing.
The ISMP would have never been possible without the financial support of the IJHS; Indiana Landmarks, Indiana Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Leonard and Marion Freeman Charitable Fund; and the U. S. Department of the Interior, National Parks Service Historic Preservation Fund administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, as well as the research assistance of Ball State University students Emily McGuire, Aaron Becker, Cory Balkenbusch, Kari Klem, and Cain Martin.