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Corona synagogue on the brink of foreclosure

After 43 years in the community, Congregation Beth Shalom in Corona is fighting to keep its property out of foreclosure.

January 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Members of Congregation Beth Shalom may soon not have a house of worship after 43 years in the community.

The congregation is facing foreclosure.

In 2009, the congregation built the $1.4 million synagogue. Shortly after, the economy tanked and so did member donations to help pay for the facility.

Bruce Williams, the congregation president, said their bank offered a loan modification that would have put the congregation out of business.

Beth Shalom is fighting to save its synagogue at 2790 California Ave. Its members, along with other faith groups, held a demonstration in front of the bank's branch office in Corona.

Protesters say they hope it will get the bank to offer what they say is a reasonable loan modification.

"We need our synagogue just like we need all our houses of worship," said Rev. Karen Chavez of St. John's Episcopal Church. "We need them to be a vital force in our community the way they are."

"They want a chance," said Henna Jalal of the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco. "Don't take anyone's home away."

In a statement to ABC7 Eyewitness News, California Bank & Trust said it could not comment on the matter because of privacy issues and pending litigation.

"CB&T is focused on serving the needs of the communities in which it serves and in situations where borrowers are distressed and having difficulty meeting the terms of their loan does everything possible to reach a mutually beneficial outcome," the bank said in a statement.

Congregation Beth Shalom has filed for bankruptcy protection. The organization will face off with California Bank & Trust next week in a courtroom.