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Chronicles: Eldridge Street Synagogue

eldridge-street-synagogue-2Opening its doors in 1887, The Eldridge Street Synagogue is one of the earliest synagogues in the U.S. Built by brother Peter and Francis William Herter, the brothers also constructed many other Lower East Side commission, into which they incorporated elements from the synagogue such as stars of David.
The synagogue’s grandious features were lauded in locals papers at the time of its opening, commenting on the 70-foot-high vaulted ceilings and magnificent stained glass window. Though the 1920s, thousands of immigrants passed through the building’s doors, having before only been able to worship in rented halls, converted storefronts, renovated churches. The crowds were once so large, that police had to control the masses. The haven for the Jewish population of downtown New York became so popular, that it expanded to aid with the poor, loan money and help with arrangements for the sick and dying.

From the 1920 on however, due to economy, a diaspora across the U.S. and limits on immigration, the membership of the synagogue dwindled, eventually causing the few members to abandon the main sanctuary to the elements, unable to pay for repairs, and congregate in the lower chapel.
In 1986, a non-profit was created to save the historic building called the Eldridge Street Project and after 21, the building was finally re-opened to the public as the Museum at Eldridge Street with congregation Kahal Adath Jeshurun meeting for services.
Eldridge Street Synagogue
12 Eldridge St, New York‎ – (212) 227-8780

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