The Museum at Eldridge Street is an important and historic landmark for the Jewish community. The museum is located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It used to be called the Eldridge Street Synagogue and was built in 1887 by Eastern European Jewish immigrants. At the time, the Lower East Side was a densely populated neighborhood with a dominant Jewish population. This historic landmark was built with a unique design of stained-glass windows and rose windows which can be seen in the photo essay below. The synagogue was intended for more than services and prayers, as many congregants went there to socialize, make deals, to offer advice, and catch up on gossip. Eastern European Jews primarily spoke Yiddish in their places of origin, as did most congregants that attended the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Many of the children of the Jewish immigrants who attended Eldridge Street synagogue in the early 1900s moved elsewhere and started families in other parts of New York. Ultimately, by the mid-twentieth century, as the community got smaller and smaller, the congregation closed off the sanctuary and prayed in a smaller basement. Now it is a beautiful museum open to the public to walk in the same synagogue as the immigrants did in the 1900s.I hope you enjoy the beautiful pictures I took of the museum especially the ark design and the stain glass windows, 80% of which remain untouched.
Photography and text by Alan Sprikut.
Suggestions for Further Reading
See the Museum at Eldridge Street’s self-guided tour.
Polland, Annie. Landmark of the Spirit: The Eldridge Street Synagogue. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2008.