Museum at Eldridge Street

Museum at Eldridge Street Located in the 1887 National Historic Landmark Eldridge Street Synagogue, the Museum explores immigration, architecture and restoration, and Jewish ritual.

Open Sun-Thurs, 10-5, Fri 10-3. The Museum at Eldridge Street is housed in the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue, a magnificent National Historic Landmark that has been meticulously restored. Exhibits, tours, cultural events and educational programs tell the story of Jewish immigrant life at the turn of the last century, explore architecture and historic preservation, inspire reflection on cultural continuity, and foster collaboration and exchange between people of all faiths, heritages and interests.

Operating as usual

12/10/2020

Happy Hanukkah! Tonight, many Jewish families around the globe are all doing the same thing - lighting the first candle on their Hanukkah menorah. And every night of the holiday, we’ll be joining them! We've chosen eight menorahs from our exhibition Lighting the World: Menorahs Around the Globe. Each lamp tells a fascinating story about Jewish life around the planet & through the ages. And who doesn't like to see the flickering lights of a menorah?

To kick things off, we chose this simple brass menorah, hailing from early-20th century United States. It’s a modest item, but likely very similar to what many early Eldridge Street congregants would have used during their first years in America.

This year, we're pairing each glowing menorah with some metaphorical light - a hope, a wish, or perhaps a ‘guiding light’ for the year ahead. So tonight, we’re honoring the simple things that keep us grounded. And we’re remembering the importance of family and close relations - even when we can’t be together in person.

Menorahs have always been the subject of artistry and customization. For centuries, creators have fashioned their menora...
12/09/2020

Menorahs have always been the subject of artistry and customization. For centuries, creators have fashioned their menorahs to include local iconography or site-specific materials.

But a new generation of designers is taking aesthetics to a new level, in the hopes of forging deeper relationships with Judaica. Read all about the menorah as a work of art - today on the blog. https://www.eldridgestreet.org/blog/menorahs-go-millennial/

[Pictured: a modular menorah designed by B. Zippy in collaboration with Judaica Standard Time.]

12/09/2020
Tonight at 6PM! Join a discussion with historian and author Scott Seligman. He wrote the first book-length exploration o...
12/07/2020

Tonight at 6PM! Join a discussion with historian and author Scott Seligman. He wrote the first book-length exploration of the 1902 kosher meat riots - neighborhood activism, led by Jewish women, that really made an impact on businesses of the Lower East Side. Eldridge Street Synagogue even makes an appearance as a site of a fiery speech!

Entry is set at an optional donation so come one, come all! Make your reservation here: https://www.eldridgestreet.org/event/immigrant-housewives-and-the-riots-that-shook-new-york-city/.

Calling all amateur historians! One of the best ways that we can start to understand the past is to examine first-hand s...
12/03/2020

Calling all amateur historians! One of the best ways that we can start to understand the past is to examine first-hand sources like photos. By looking closely at the people, the clothing, the setting and the behaviors in a photo, we can learn a lot about life was like 100 years ago.

So let's do just that - take a look at this historic photo from the Library of Congress. What do you see? What do you think might be happening here? What are they doing? And why?

Make some guesses and then head to eldridgestreet.org/look-closely to get the real scoop.

The Once neighborhood of Buenos Aires was home to a historic Jewish community, just like the Lower East Side. But unlike...
12/02/2020

The Once neighborhood of Buenos Aires was home to a historic Jewish community, just like the Lower East Side. But unlike the Lower East Side, Jewish culture is in many ways alive and well in Once today. So much so that their McDonald's is kosher!

The neighborhood is also home to a grand historic synagogue that shares some intriguing similarities with our own landmark building, despite their many differences. Check out our latest Sister Shuls blog to get all the details. [Photo courtesy of Culture Trip]

https://www.eldridgestreet.org/blog/sister-shuls-gran-templo-paso-in-buenos-aires/

The raised platform you see here, underneath the brass chandelier, is our bimah. It is from this central elevated locati...
12/01/2020

The raised platform you see here, underneath the brass chandelier, is our bimah. It is from this central elevated location that the Torah is read during services. Historically, it was also a place where other important information might be shared with the congregation. It was only men who did that sharing, though. The bimah is on the men's level; women were not permitted to be on the main level, let alone step up to the bimah.⁠

So imagine the entire congregation's surprise when on May 15, 1902 a commotion at the entrance of the main sanctuary broke out. A group of women came rushing into the men's section of the sanctuary! They climbed on top of the bimah and started listed demands. Prices of kosher meat had been deliberately raised by city butchers (some of whom were in the Eldridge Street audience at that very moment!) and the women, who did all the shopping and housekeeping, weren't going to take it anymore.⁠

The Eldridge Street Synagogue was just one East Side location where this battle played out - our @Tenement Museum friends tell a story at their site of a brick thrown through a butcher shop window. So were these women successful? Were their demands met? Scott Seligman wrote the first book-length exploration of this fascinating activism story, and he'll dig in with us at a virtual event on December 7.

Get your tickets today! https://www.eldridgestreet.org/event/immigrant-housewives-and-the-riots-that-shook-new-york-city/

It's gloomy, it's cold, and your Thanksgiving to-do list might be growing by the minute. Let's forget all that and take ...
11/25/2020

It's gloomy, it's cold, and your Thanksgiving to-do list might be growing by the minute. Let's forget all that and take a virtual trip to Bueno Aires, shall we? Specifically, the hip neighborhood of Once. A historic synagogue there is the subject of our latest Sister Shuls blog post.

Architecturally our two buildings aren't all that similar. But Once shares a lot in common with our own Lower East Side neighborhood. Interestingly, however, it retains much more of a Jewish presence than ours does in New York.

Learn more about this Argentinian enclave in today's post - https://www.eldridgestreet.org/blog/sister-shuls-gran-templo-paso-in-buenos-aires/

"This pie is a multitasker! If you like pumpkin spice flavored pie and the refreshing taste of coconut cream pie — then ...
11/24/2020

"This pie is a multitasker! If you like pumpkin spice flavored pie and the refreshing taste of coconut cream pie — then you’ll love this wonderful combination of coconut and pumpkin with a ‘chiffon’ lightness. No need to bake on Thanksgiving day!"⁠

Check out The Forward talking about pumpkin spice in 1947! In Yiddish, to boot. They were decades ahead of the trend. But only 20 years earlier, the pages of the newspaper were proclaiming that Jews simply didn't eat pie. It was too American - too lazy - with its "chiffon lightness." The author claimed that Jewish eaters liked nuts, fruits and other mix-ins that allowed them to put in some effort with their bakes.

Can't we all just get along? Maybe we can settle the debate now - will it be pie or no pie for you this Thanksgiving? Check out more about this wild anti-pie stance on our blog! https://www.eldridgestreet.org/blog/is-pie-the-paragon-of-american-sloth/

A fun view capture by Arnaud Barney, looking up at our big brass chandelier. It's been hanging in there since 1887!
11/23/2020

A fun view capture by Arnaud Barney, looking up at our big brass chandelier. It's been hanging in there since 1887!

11/20/2020

The weather's looking real good in NY the next couple days! So head out for a walk with your family & take Building Bingo with you - it's a fun game that helps kids (or budding architectural historians of any age...) identify elements of a building all over the city.

Learn more & get your bingo board at eldridgestreet.org/learning-from-home.

It's time for another Look Closely! Put on your thinking caps and see what you can see in this historic photo. We can us...
11/19/2020

It's time for another Look Closely! Put on your thinking caps and see what you can see in this historic photo. We can use primary sources, like old photos, to learn a lot about what life was like 100 years ago. So what does this photo tell you about life way back when? What's happening here? Where are they? What might you learn about how kids spent their days?

Take some guesses and then head to eldridgestreet.org/look-closely to get the full scoop!

According to a 1927 article in The Forward, Jews just don't eat pie. It's too easy, too basic, too American for the Jewi...
11/18/2020

According to a 1927 article in The Forward, Jews just don't eat pie. It's too easy, too basic, too American for the Jewish palate and personality. Jewish eaters crave a sense of bite - crunchy cookies or loaves packed with chewy nuts & fruit.

But 20 years later, the same newspaper was running Yiddish advertisements for silky, "chiffon" pumpkin pie! What gives? Did Jewish families eventually give in to the very American idea of a lazy mushy pie? Today on the blog, we dive into the great pie debate.

https://www.eldridgestreet.org/blog/is-pie-the-paragon-of-american-sloth/

it's #TourTuesday! So sit back, relax, and imagine the world is once again a place where you can stroll into our museum ...
11/17/2020

it's #TourTuesday! So sit back, relax, and imagine the world is once again a place where you can stroll into our museum and get a tour led by an expert docent. You're sitting in the main sanctuary, among rows and rows of heavy benches. Your docent has already told you that the benches are oak and original to 1887. But something else catches your eye - behind you on the back of your bench is a stenciled gold number. What are the numbers for, you ask?⁠

Those handpainted markers are the remnants of the congregation's early membership program. Each member paid dues to the synagogue through "renting" a seat. The closer your seat to the front of the sanctuary, the more money it cost. Members who had fallen on hard times could choose a cheaper seat upon renewal, and those doing well financially could move up - literally - in the congregation by trading seats. ⁠

The system not only raised money for the congregation; it was one of the many ways in which they sought to operate an orderly, professionalized institution. The synagogue's leaders were cognizant of society's prejudice against Eastern Europeans and they were eager to prove themselves as modern, efficient, and decorous.

High drama in this photo from Instagram user @nuyork.mag!
11/16/2020

High drama in this photo from Instagram user @nuyork.mag!

We just added a brand new virtual activity for families & online learners! What are arches, how are they constructed, an...
11/13/2020

We just added a brand new virtual activity for families & online learners! What are arches, how are they constructed, and what makes them strong enough to hold up a building? Dive in to our latest video architecture lesson - by the end, learners will have the know-how to build and decorate their very own arch!

Head to https://www.eldridgestreet.org/learning-from-home/ to get started.

Today's Look Closely comes to us from the pages of a 1902 newspaper article. Put on your thinking caps and your  histori...
11/12/2020

Today's Look Closely comes to us from the pages of a 1902 newspaper article. Put on your thinking caps and your historian glasses and take a look! What's happening in this photo? Who are these people and why would they have appeared in a newspaper article?

Make some guesses, craft your own story - and then head to eldridgestreet.org/look-closely to see how your guesses measure up to real life!

Who remembers our artist open house events? What fun it was to see the sanctuary filled with the creative energy of illu...
11/09/2020

Who remembers our artist open house events? What fun it was to see the sanctuary filled with the creative energy of illustrators, painters, and photographers!

Let's travel somewhere far, far away, shall we? ln Alexandria, Egypt is a stately synagogue that once served a Jewish co...
11/06/2020

Let's travel somewhere far, far away, shall we? ln Alexandria, Egypt is a stately synagogue that once served a Jewish community of 40,000. That heritage has almost entirely disappeared in Egypt. But a recent restoration and rededication of the grand shul has begun a new chapter in this building's long and fascinating story.

This week on the blog, we took ourselves in Egypt - in our minds and through our browsers - to explore the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue and its similarities to our own.

Travel along with us!: https://www.eldridgestreet.org/blog/sister-shuls-eliyahu-hanavi-in-alexandria-egypt/

Calling all you amateur historians out there - it's time for another Look Closely! Put on your thinking caps and have a ...
11/05/2020

Calling all you amateur historians out there - it's time for another Look Closely! Put on your thinking caps and have a look at this photo from the @Library of Congress.

We can learn a lot about what life was like 100 years ago from using primary sources like historic photographs. What do you think is happening in this picture? What clues can we gather from the girls, the setting, the background?

When you've spent some time with this photo, head to www.eldridgestreet.org/look-closely to learn and think more about what you see here!

We hope you're taking a few minutes today to sit back and take in something beautiful and inspiring. Although we can't p...
11/02/2020

We hope you're taking a few minutes today to sit back and take in something beautiful and inspiring. Although we can't provide in-person serenity right now, we're wishing you the same sense of peace you feel sitting in our historic sanctuary.

In New York this week it's been cold, rainy, dark and dreary. May we suggest an auditory escape to the gleaming interior...
10/30/2020

In New York this week it's been cold, rainy, dark and dreary. May we suggest an auditory escape to the gleaming interior of our historic sanctuary? Fire up the Museum at Eldridge Street episode of the fabulous The Bowery Boys podcast. You'll be transported to the museum as we walk through our landmark building (pre-covid!) with hosts Greg & Tom, exploring the synagogue's long and legendary history. Listen here!: https://www.boweryboyshistory.com/2019/11/the-miracle-on-eldridge-street-restoring-a-landmark-of-american-jewish-history.html

They also just posted an episode called "Literary Horrors of New York City" so after you're done with our story you can get in the spooky mood!

Today's Look Closely features a classic shot of tenement life from the Museum of the City of New York's collection. Look...
10/29/2020

Today's Look Closely features a classic shot of tenement life from the Museum of the City of New York's collection. Look around this historic LES scene - what do you see? What clues in the photo might tell you where they are, who they are? Make some guesses and then head to eldridgestreet.org/look-closely to get the full scoop!

Sometimes a storefront's sign can become just as beloved as the business it advertises. That's certainly true of some of...
10/28/2020

Sometimes a storefront's sign can become just as beloved as the business it advertises. That's certainly true of some of the famous signs of the Lower East Side. In today's blog, we're celebrating a few of our favorites that we've lost - and even one sign that was found again!

https://www.eldridgestreet.org/blog/lessigns/

Today on Tour Tuesday we're talking faux finishes - those tricky paint techniques that make us think we're looking at so...
10/27/2020

Today on Tour Tuesday we're talking faux finishes - those tricky paint techniques that make us think we're looking at something we're not. As your eye wanders over the dizzying array of decorative techniques in our historic sanctuary, you might think you're looking at marble columns and marble wall panels. But you're not! The walls are plaster and the columns are wood. Both are expertly painted to look like marble, a far more expensive material.⁠ On an in-person tour at the Museum, your docent might even encourage you to run your hand down the faux marble column - it's a jarring experience to think you're able to touch cool, hard marble and instead feel the softer warmer sensation of 100-year-old wood.

The sanctuary also uses a paint technique called trompe l'oeil, commonly used to trick the eye into perceiving a three-dimensional object where there isn't one. On either side of the grand ark in the sanctuary is a trompe l'oeil mural of a window partially covered by a curtain. It's a curious design - and scholars here were never able to uncover the true meaning or inspiration behind their creation.

Break out those colored pencils (or crayons, or markers...) and color your world exactly the way you want it to look. Yo...
10/26/2020

Break out those colored pencils (or crayons, or markers...) and color your world exactly the way you want it to look. You can find these blank coloring pages, and many more, under Art Exploration on our Learning From Home page. It's a soothing activity for stressful times.

https://www.eldridgestreet.org/learning-from-home/ [Facade illustration and coloration by Jake Rose]

10/23/2020
Eyal Vilner Big Band

Such fun! Thanks Eyal Vilner Big Band for giving us all a little slice of the excitement that live music brings.

Excited to share with you all the first tune from an online concert we did for the Museum at Eldridge Street!

Here is an original of mine entitled Downhill!
Solos by Mariel Bildsten, Wayne Tucker and yours truly!

The Eyal Vilner Big Band
featuring:
Eyal Vilner - saxophone, clarinet, compositions, arrangements
Jordan Pettay - alto and tenor saxophone, clarinet
Josh Lee - tenor saxophone
Bill Todd - alto and tenor saxophone, flute
Eden Bareket - baritone saxophone, bass clarinet

Bryan Davis - trumpet
Brandon Lee - trumpet
Wayne Tucker - trumpet
Edo Gur - trumpet

Ron Wilkins - trombone
Mariel Bildsten - trombone
Becca Patterson - trombone

Jonathan Thomas - piano
Jennifer Vincent - bass
Erán Fink - drums

*Video editing by Bryan Davis

it's time to take some guesses as to what's happening in this historic Lower East Side scene! 🤔 Use context clues about ...
10/22/2020

it's time to take some guesses as to what's happening in this historic Lower East Side scene! 🤔 Use context clues about the photograph and what you know about life in New York 100 years ago. What might be happening here?

When you've made some guesses, head to eldridgestreet.org/look-closely and check your work! You just might learn something.

Have you seen ThinkChinatown's awesome lineup of events for this year's Chinatown Arts Week? Not only are there some gre...
10/21/2020
Chinatown Arts Week brings the community together - Museum at Eldridge Street

Have you seen ThinkChinatown's awesome lineup of events for this year's Chinatown Arts Week? Not only are there some great virtual experiences (hosted by Chinatowns around the country!) but a few outdoor events will give you the chance to safely enjoy arts & community in real life!

Check out our post below for some of our favorite highlights in the schedule - and then head over to the website to get all the info.

This year has been especially tough for so many people. And adding to the stress of world events is the isolation we’re experiencing as we safely socially distance and shelter in our homes whenever possible. It can make us feel disconnected and alone. Which is why Chinatown Arts Week, Think!Chinat...

It's time for another Tour Tuesday! So sit back, close your eyes and imagine you're sitting in the benches of Eldridge S...
10/20/2020

It's time for another Tour Tuesday! So sit back, close your eyes and imagine you're sitting in the benches of Eldridge Street's historic sanctuary. Your docent directs your attention to the elaborate ark on the Eastern wall. It's an imposing piece of walnut, stretching high toward the ceiling and beautifully carved. And at the top of this ark is a circular space lined in - light bulbs? They're not covered with decorative shades like in the rest of the sanctuary - the bulbs themselves appear to be the main event.

And that's because when they were installed shortly after the turn of the 20th century, electricity really was the main event. Eldridge Street's congregation was very proud that they were early adopters of electricity. It would be over a decade before most congregants enjoyed electric light in their own homes. So these bulbs were a huge draw. And a way for the congregation of new immigrants to announce that, too, could have nice things.

They weren't the only ones who showed off their electricity in this way. Many public spaces installed similar displays to herald the arrival of bright light. If you've seen pictures of the elaborate City Hall station (or been lucky enough to take one of the private tours!), then you'll recognize the look.

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12 Eldridge St
New York, NY
10002

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Sad news to share...
Concert was inspiring and uplifting, perfect entertainment for a Covid 19 afternoon. I will watch for further events, as this was the first I’ve viewed. The announcer was delightful!
The concert was inspiring and uplifting! Perfect entertainment for a Covid 19 stay in afternoon! I will follow your page for more, and the announcer was delightful!
Had a wonderful time at your Mother's Day Show & Tell💜 I hosted one at Old Stone House of Brooklyn several years ago! I love hearing all the stories of stuff 😊
Had a marvelous visit to the Museum today. I had brought students from my university in Georgia to visit in 2018, and I came back with my wife Martha today. We had a wonderfully informative tour guide named Barbara, and we got to spend a lot of time after the tour soaking up the atmosphere from the women's gallery and then looking at all the displays on the first floor. We purchased a couple of books upon leaving, and the person behind the desk very kindly ran all the way to the end of the block to return the debit card I'd forgotten! I love this beautiful historic site and recommend it to everyone!
This challah cover, designed to be embroidered, says it was donated by "Isser Reznik's Sons, 77 1/2 Eldridge St. Distributers of Royal Muslin." Looking for info about it, especially when it was created.
Probably one of the most beautiful and most interesting buildings in NYC. In the Lower East Side and worth seeing... whether or not you are Jewish.
Hello. Join me, fellow Jews and allies. I will be attending today's 2pm Youth-led Vigil outside at Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. Their Congregation Beit Elohim FB page says it will include Kaddish. OCT 28 Youth Vigil for Pittsburgh Public · Hosted by Rachel Landis and Sonia Chajet Wides Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 2 PM EDT Grand Army Plaza 1 Grand Army Plz, Brooklyn, New York 11238
Stunning experience visiting today.
this reminds me of the synagogue
We visited recently your fantastic museum, we liked the way you are telling stories, starting with the people that had the vision to build a synagogue. We found many interesting stories for us. https://www.facebook.com/pg/Jewsineastprussia/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1870983542925603
I grew up on Eldridge Street and my mom cleaned this and other sanctuary's back in the 60's and early 70's.