Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Manhattan

Saturday, 30 March 2024 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, New York City
Reading Time:  3 minutes

© David Shankbone/cc-by-sa-3.0

© David Shankbone/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Congregation Shearith Israel (lit.: Congregation Remnant of Israel), often called The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, is an Orthodox Jewish synagogue located at 2 West 70th Street, at Central Park West, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States.

Established in 1654 in New Amsterdam by Jews who arrived from Dutch Brazil, it is the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. Until 1825, when Jewish immigrants from Germany established a congregation, it was the only Jewish congregation in New York City.

The Orthodox congregation follows the Sephardic rite, and has occupied its current Neoclassical building since 1897.

© Epicgenius/cc-by-sa-4.0 © David Shankbone/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Epicgenius/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Epicgenius/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Gryffindor/cc-by-sa-3.0 © David Shankbone/cc-by-sa-3.0
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© David Shankbone/cc-by-sa-3.0
As the American Reform Judaism made headway in the late 19th century, many rabbis critical of the Reform movement looked for ways to strengthen traditional synagogues. Shearith Israel, and its rabbi, Henry Pereira Mendes, were at the fore of these efforts. Rabbi Mendes cofounded the American Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in 1886, in order to train traditional rabbis. The school held its first classes at Shearith Israel. In JTS’ earliest days, it taught and researched rabbinics similarly as was done in traditional yeshivas, in contrast to the Reform Hebrew Union College.

Twelve years later, in 1896, Mendes was acting president of JTS. He promoted the formation of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (commonly known as the OU>, the Orthodox Union). This synagogue umbrella group provided an alternative to the Reform movement’s Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

As JTS grew, it needed better financing and a full-time head. The seminary moved to its own building, and Mendes was replaced by Solomon Schechter. However, Schechter developed a less traditional approach, which became the basis for Conservative Judaism (called Masorti outside North America). Initially there was considerable cooperation between the Orthodox and Conservative groups but, over time, the divide became clearer.

Schechter formed the United Synagogue of America (now the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, or USCJ) to promote synagogue affiliation with his conservative ideology.

Shearith Israel remained aligned with the Orthodox tradition. It eventually repudiated its association with JTS. In a sense, Shearith Israel helped create three of the largest and most significant Jewish religious organizations in the United States: JTS, the OU, and USCJ. Shearith Israel remains a member only of the Orthodox Union.

Read more on Congregation Shearith Israel, History of the Jews in New York and Wikipedia Congregation Shearith Israel (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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