Sunday, October 5, 2008

Elridge Street Synagogue

Today I went on a tour of the Elridge Street Synagogue, which has just finished being restored! Located in the Lower East Side, this Orthodox synagogue offered a home of worship to Jews who immigrated from Eastern Europe in the late 1800s! The Synagogue had a thriving community until the 1940s and had been totally abandoned by the 60s! The building of the Synagogue in the 1880s was funded by four established members of the Jewish Community. It distinguished itself from the other synagogues in the area (there were hundreds) in that it welcomed Jews from all cultural backgrounds. The other synagogues communities focused on the country of origin of its members.

The restoration cost almost 17 million dollares! An Orthodox Community still worships there today. This was an exciting opportunity to learn about New York Jewish culture. The Synagogue is beautiful, with stained glass windows and a friendly welcoming staff who provide tours every half hour.

Probably one of the most interesting bits of information that I learned is that the restoration took twenty years.

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