Museum at Eldridge Street

Museum at Eldridge Street

Eldridge NYC Dollarphotoclub Public Domain

The Eldridge Street Synagogue was built in 1887 to accommodate the more than two million new Jewish New Yorkers who immigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island, an especially educational and meaningful stop to make during your NYC group travel adventure. The synagogue and museum are located on Eldridge Street, just off of East Broadway, and are centrally located to many of Manhattan’s exciting attractions (although it predates most of them).

The synagogue has been in continuous use since its opening although it, unfortunately, fell into disrepair during the Great Depression and WWII. After it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996, efforts were made to dispel the gloom and age to revive the old synagogue to its former glory.

The pigeons were evicted from the five-story-tall rafters, dust and decay were rubbed from the sconces, buttresses, and decorated ceilings, and windows were replaced to let in the natural light. The preservation team did such a fantastic job that they won several awards including the Preservation League of New York's Restoration Award.

In 2010, a new east window replaced the pragmatic but uninspiring glass brick window. This new addition was designed by Kiki Smith & Deborah Gans to showcase the divinity of the Star of David as it showers a deep blue background with golden stars and flecks of light. Other modern additions were included in the renovation such as the Museum, built to educate visitors on the history of Judaism and the religion's spiritual practices in America. The museum, too, is a wonderful resource of religious and cultural education for those wishing to learn about the Jewish people in America, their faith and practices, and much more through interactive displays. 

Synagogue services are given every Saturday and the museum is open for group tours daily except Saturdays, Jewish holidays, and major U.S. holidays.

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