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The logo for Brooklyn Jewish Heritage Initiative whose mission is to Organize Public Events, Create Oral & Video Histories, Provide Resources to the Brooklyn Jewish Community

Brooklyn Jewish
Historical Initiative

Sarina's View

A world renowned expert on the Syrian Jewish community of New York, Sarina Roffé is a career journalist with a passion for Sephardic history. She has spent her entire life researching and writing about the Syrian Jewish Community and their descendants. Of Aleppan descent, Roffé is a member of Brooklyn’s Syrian Jewish community, her experiences provide an insider’s perspective of a close knit community. 


By Sarina Roffe
Organized Jewish life in Brooklyn extends far beyond the synagogue. Jews have continually created institutions to support their evolving needs. In some cases, communities re-created the institutions they had in their countries of origin, Americanized them and added new ones to meet new needs. Read More


By Sarina Roffe
Jewish culture in all its variety thrives in Brooklyn, binding individuals and families together as a people. Central to Jewish culture are traditions which are handed down from one generation to another and which adapt to local conditions. Jewish cultural diversity in Brooklyn derives from the countries of origin of its populations, their languages, and ancestral customs. Cultural traditions powerfully influence the lives of Jews in Brooklyn who hail from all around the globe.  Read More


By Sarina Roffe
Just as the Brooklyn’s Jews are diverse in the lands of ancestral origin, languages, and cultures, so too are the causes they embrace. Following the Jewish concepts of Tikkun olam, making the world a better place, and chesed, acts of loving-kindness, many Brooklyn Jews have historically joined with co-religionists around the world, establishing organizations to address a variety of important causes. These causes have included civil rights, women’s rights, health issues, the rights of immigrants and refugees, and the pursuit of Zionism, to name just a few. Read More


By Sarina Roffe
Brooklyn has the greatest density of Jews in the world and the faces of Judaism are reflected in its people. From the various sects of Hasidic Jews to progressive and humanistic Judaism, Brooklyn has it all.

Religious life in Brooklyn takes on many different faces during the course of the year. It also varies by neighborhood. Read More