With Our Thanks:

-Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
-Former NY City Councilman Michael C. Nelson

Councilmembers: -Darlene Mealy, Stephen Levin, Chaim Deutsch, David Greenfield

-Jim Goldman, Charles Diker, Lloyd Handwerker, Hon Alice Fisher Rubin, Lowell Rubin, Raoul Felder bhs-logo2


Brooklyn is the most dynamic center of Judaism outside of Israel. The Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative is now offering tours – walking tours, bicycling tours and bus/van tours – that cover various aspects of Jewish life in Brooklyn, past and present. Those who join our BJHI Tours will see up close the cultural, historical and artistic facets of Jewish Brooklyn, offering opportunities to learn in an informal manner, Our tour guides are experts, just see their bios below, so you can be sure of a wonderful experience. And to paraphrase an old TV ad, you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy our tours.
Sign up today!

Meet Your Tour Guides:

Judith Greenwald Click for Bio

Judith Greenwald
Click for Bio

Ellen Levitt Click for Bio

Ellen Levitt
Click for Bio

Sarina Roffe Click for Bio

Sarina Roffe
Click for Bio

Ron Schweiger Click for Bio

Ron Schweiger
Click for Bio


  • judith-greenwaldJudith R. Greenwald, Esq. A resident of downtown Brooklyn since 1965, Judith Greenwald is the historian and archivist of Congregation Baith Israel Anshei Emes, a/k/a Kane Street Synagogue, where she has been an active member for 50 years.  She wrote the history of the 161-year old conservative synagogue, “The First 144 Years of Congregation Baith Israel Anshei Emes” which was in the collection of essays in the Jews of Brooklyn (University Press of New England, 2002), edited by Ilana Abramovitch and Sean Galvin.
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      Judith R. Greenwald is a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School.

      • History of Jews in Downtown Brooklyn

      To schedule Judith Greenwald, please contact her at Jrgreenwald@mindspring.com

  • ellen-levittEllen Levitt

    As lifelong resident of Brooklyn, Ellen Levitt is the author of six books, including The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn (2009), The Lost Synagogues of the Bronx and Queens (2011) and The Lost Synagogues of Manhattan (2013), all published by Avotaynu, the scholarly publisher of Judaic history and genealogy titles.

    Ms. Levitt has given walking, biking and bus tours on Lost Synagogues in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.  She has…Read More

        spoken on this topic for various groups including the Jewish Genealogical Society of NY, the East Bronx History Forum, Ateret Avot and several synagogue groups. She was a research consultant for the recent exhibit on Jewish Newark history for the Jewish Museum of New Jersey.

      Ms Levitt is also the author of Walking Manhattan (2015), published by Wilderness Press. In addition her freelance written articles and essays have appeared in several print and online publications, including the New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Teacher, the Jerusalem Post, Your Teen Magazine, Writers Weekly, and others.

      She exhibited more than 20 black-and-white photographs at the Brooklyn Historical Society in 2005-06, and one of her photographs was part of the BHS exhibit on Hurricane Sandy.

      A Murrow High School graduate, she earned her BA at Barnard College and her MA in History at Brooklyn College. A 20 veteran social studies teacher, Ms Levitt lives with her family in Midwood.


      • Lost Synagogues of NYC, NJ
      • Jewish Celebrities of Brooklyn
      • The History of Conservative Judaism in Brooklyn
      • Architecture of Synagogues in NYC
      • History of Organized Jewish youth groups in NYC (Young Judaea, NIFTY, BBYO, etc)

      To schedule Ellen Levitt, please contact her at bigsis464@yahoo.com

  • sarina-5-2012Sarina Roffé

    A journalist, Sarina Roffé has published three books and  hundreds of articles in journals, newspapers and magazines as well as many recipes. She specializes in Sephardic history, culture and genealogy and is recognized internationally for her research on Sephardic Jews.

    Her upcoming book Branching Out from Sepharad traces Sephardic Jews from Spain to the Levant to the Americas over 500 years.Read More

      Backyard Kitchen: Meditterrannean Salads, is the first in a series of cookbooks, and reflects her grandmother’s influence as the first Syrian Jewish caterer in Brooklyn.

      Ms. Roffé’s recipes have been included in the New York Times, the New York Times Jewish Cookbook, Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America (Beardsley Award). She also wrote “Food and Drink, Modern Period: Syria.” Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (Brill, Leiden, 2014), publishes an online blog and launched Sarina’s Sephardic Cuisine, an iPhone cooking app.

      Her volunteer activities include Co-Chair of the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative, serving on the board of Jewish Gen Board of Governors, and as President of the Sephardic Heritage Project. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ms. Roffé holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Maryland in College Park, an MA in Jewish Studies from Touro College, and an MBA from SUNY Empire College.


      • The Syrian Jewish Community – From Aleppo to Flatbush
      • Sephardic Food and Culture
      • The Syrian Jewish Edict Against Marriage to Converts
      • Syrian Jewish Cooking demonstrations

      To schedule Sarina Roffé, please contact her at sarinaroffe@aol.com

  • ron-schweigerRon Schweiger

    Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ron Schweiger is the official Brooklyn Borough Historian, appointed in 00 by then Borough President Marty Markowitz.

    A teacher, he has conducted walking tours, bus tours and given lectures of Brooklyn’s historic neighborhoods and famous Brooklynites for 37 years.
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      • Mr. Schweiger was an official tour guide in 1983 for the Brooklyn Bridge centennial celebration. In 2008, when the Brooklyn Bridge had its125th anniversary, Mr. Schweiger gave tours on the Bridge and was the media spokesperson for NYC & Co. While the famed Kings theater was being renovated, he gave tours and was interviewed by various news outlets. .

      Mr. Schweiger has contributed to numerous books on Brooklyn history. His volunteer activities include serving on the BJHI Board, President of Temple Beth Emeth v’Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek   (2004-2009), and President of the Society of Old Brooklynites (2013-2015). Mr. Schweiger received both his BA and MA from Brooklyn College, where he chaired the Alumni Association (2011-2015).


      • History of Jews in Brooklyn
      • Trolleys, Trains and Jews
      • Famous Jews of Brooklyn
      • Fulton Street Department Stores
      • From Boroughs to a City – the 1898 Consolidation of NY

      To schedule Ron Schweiger, please contact him at bklynremembered@aol.com.



    Upcoming Tours

    Walking tour of Williamsburg and Lost Synagogues

    With Ellen Levitt

    Click Here to Register

    Sun March 11 at 2 – 4 pm  $20 pp

    Bike Tour of Lost Synagogues of Flatbush/East Flatbush

    With Ellen Levitt

    Click Here to Register

    Sunday April 8, at 1 – 3 pm  $20 pp

    Walking Tour of Downtown Brooklyn Jewish Historic Points

    with Judith Greenwald

    Click Here to Register

    May 6, 1 – 3 pm  $25 pp

    Sephardic Brooklyn – From Bensonhurst to Flatbush

    with Sarina Roffe

    Click Here to Register

    Sunday April 15 – 11 to 2 pm  – $25 pp

    Victorian Flatbush Walking Tour

    with Brooklyn Borough historian Ron Schweiger

    Click Here to Register

    Sun May 20 at 10:30 am – 1:30 pm –  $25 pp