Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lower East Side

The Jewish Teachers Group of the UFT ran a trip today to the Eldridge St Synagogue. This was the first synagogue built in NY for worship, built in the late 1800's. Before it was built, the Jews worshipped in converted churches, homes, stores, or anywhere they could get a space. The building was in total disrepair but has undergone a 20 year renovation to bring it back to its original beauty. It is a national historic spot, a place for all immigrants to see how their culture and religion has grown in the United States. There are Jewish stars in everything. It was important to immigrants to be able to proclaim their Judiasm after the persecution they faced before they emigrated to the United States.

This is the view from the women's section, in the balcony. Although women were segregated, worship here was much better than it was in Europe. Here they were able to see and hear the service. In Europe, they were forced to listen to the service through holes in walls and floors. In spite of the segregation, women played an important role in Jewish heritage, forcing butchers to roll back the price of meats and in keeping the synagogue open for everyone.

Ceiling light was important in the temple as many of the immigrants lived in dark, dank overcrowded tenements.

Rose Window

The glass blocks were put in these windows after the stained glass windows were destroyed. The synagogue did not have the money for stained glass. There is a big controversy as to whether they should be left this way (they were put in 1940) or if they should try to go back to something like the original windows. There are no pictures of the original windows so an exact replication is impossible.
Chandelier--an original

Stained glass window--lets in lots of light.

The ark. The red velvet inside is original.

After the tour, we had lunch at my favorite vegetarian Chinese place on Mott (Vegetarian Paradise) and then walked back to tour the lower East Side, an area I don't get to visit very often.

Manhattan Bridge

Gus' Pickles-the best in the city or anywhere.

Forward Building--Yiddish newspaper.

Loved this building,but it looked out of place.

Found this in the facade of an old building.

New construction--the area is really changing.

Orchard St--where everyone came for socks, underwear and overall bargains.

Orchard St used to be lined with these stores. Notice the new building on top of the old one. There are many of these in the area.

Hat display on Orchard St.

This is the Orchard St I remember from my youth.

Old name on this tee shirt shop--kind of funny, I thought.

I loved seeing the clothes flying from the fire escapes.

Maybe this will help the job market--get paid to pray. For the non Jews, at least 10men are needed or services cannot go on.

Looking into the cellar as an old Rabbi does some work for a Jewish family. It is a shame that all these bars are necessary today.

The beautiful and cheap produce we bought under the Williamsburg Bridge. All of this cost less than $7.00


Rick Patterson said...

It's posts like this one that make me really really really want to visit NYC. On the other hand, I just got a guided tour and never left my house.
Loved the ad for the minyan. The spelling rocks!

Mrs. T said...

This was such a great post! Thank you so much for sharing this! I lived most of my childhood desperately wishing I lived in New York- all the books I read and loved took place there. I love that this showed the New York that the tourists don't see, although I'd love to tour that synagogue on my next visit.

Pissed Off said...

If either of you ever get to NY, I will be happy to show you around.