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An Evening Tour of the Magnificent Central Synagogue

Hosted By: The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC)

Central Synagogue (Congregation Ahawath Chesed Shaar Hashomayim) was built in 1870–1872 and was designed by Henry Fernbach, one of the first prominent Jewish architects in America. It has been in continuous use by a congregation longer than any other synagogue in the state of New York, except Congregation Berith Sholom in Troy, New York, upstate,

This magnificent building was designated a New York City landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1966, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. It was then designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

The Ahawath Chesed Congregation was founded in 1846 on Ludlow Street on the Lower East Side by German-speaking Jews from Bohemia. It merged in 1898 with Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, which was also founded by German Jews in 1839 on Albany Street, also on the Lower East Side. The combined congregation bought the lot at Lexington Avenue and East 55th Street, where the structure still stands.

Currently, the rabbi is Angela Warnick Buchdahl, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, to a Japanese-born Korean Buddhist mother, Sulja Yi Warnick, and Frederick David Warnick, an American Ashkenazi Reform Jew, whose ancestors emigrated from Romania, and Russia to the United States. She was the first Asian-American to be ordained as a rabbi, and the first Asian-American to be ordained as a hazzan (cantor). In 2011 she was named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of America’s “Most Influential Rabbis”, and in 2012 by The Daily Beast as one of America’s “Top 50 Rabbis”

This synagogue can boast many notable members such as Jacob Javits (US Senator;) Evelyn Lauder (make-up magnate, socialite, and philanthropist;) Jonathan Tisch (CEO of Loews Hotels and co-owner of the New York Giants;) Geraldo Rivera (journalist, attorney, author, political commentator, and former television host) and many more.

Please join us as The LESJC visits this glorious site for the very first time. This tour will be given by a member of the congregation.

Tickets must be purchased in advance. See here for Covid Policies.

The event listed here is hosted by a third party. My Jewish Learning/70 Faces Media is not responsible for its content or for errors in the listing.


The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC)

The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy (LESJC) is an educational non-profit, created in 1998, to preserve and support the Lower East Side’s community of living synagogues and other historic structures, and to raise public awareness of the neighborhoods distinct cultural identity. As the birthplace of American Jewish civilization, and the most iconic immigrant neighborhood in America, we share this history by taking people on walking tours which enter sacred sites, where you learn how past generations came here, lived and worshiped. Learn more about LESJC here.
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