Brooklyn

Brooklyn Heights

The story of Jewish Brooklyn began in 1654, when Asher Levy, a Sephardi Jew from Recife, Brazil, was among the first Jews to arrive in New York City. Levy was also the first member of the tribe to invest in property in Brooklyn, setting in motion two trends that have reached a zenith in 2018: Brooklyn real estate madness (in trendy neighborhoods, seven-figure home prices are routine) and Jewish community.

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The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue

The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue

 

Brooklyn has been called, in the past, the Borough of Churches.  This was particularly true of Brooklyn Heights, which  has several historic and beautiful churches of several denominations. The community did not have an active Jewish community until around 60 years ago.  The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, a reform congregation, was established in 1959 and outgrew its first building on Remsen Street, moving into two larger buildings also located on Remsen Street.  The original building  was sold to the Orthodox community which now houses the Chabad as well.  A conservative congregation is now well settled in Cadman Plaza. All three communicate well and belong to the Brooklyn Heights Clergy Coalition.

Park Slope

Park Slope, a farming area in the late 1800’s became a bedroom community for the middle class-mostly, Irish and Italian when the subway made its way into the area. 

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Chabad Park Slope

Chabad Park Slope

Park Slope, a farming area in the late 1800’s became a bedroom community for the middle class-mostly, Irish and Italian when the subway made its way into the area. It was a bucolic suburban setting. It went downward into rooming houses and the Brownstone revival began in the late 1960’s with revival of the original homes and was declared a National Historic landmark in 1973. Home to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library nearby and the Brooklyn Museum it is now a much desired real estate driven community of restored homes, lovely shops and galleries.

Congregation Beth Elohim

Congregation Beth Elohim 

Congregation Beth Elohim, founded in 1861, is one of the fastest growing and most vibrant synagogues in New York City. CBE, also known as Garfield Temple, was recently named “one of America’s 25 most vibrant congregations” by Newsweek, which hailed CBE for “quickly adapting to Brooklyn’s exciting, young population.” Open to people from a variety of backgrounds who honor our traditions and values, CBE serves as a hub for members and for the surrounding community as well. It is a place of worship, dedicated to honoring Jewish traditions, and also a place of learning, a place to socialize, to celebrate and to actively engage with the world, a synagogue center energizing and enriching our Jewish community through study, ritual and acts of loving-kindness. “The Brownstoner”

 

GREENPOINT

Jewish life is re-emerging in this Greenpoint, home to Jews since the 1800s. Known as “Little Poland” for the waves of emigrés from Poland who started settling there early in the 20th century, Greenpoint is in the northern-most part of Brooklyn, “1.2 square miles of grit and quaintness,” according to a recent New York Times story.

Greenpoint SynagogueIf you have a story or photos about Jewish life in GREENPOINT, please
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Greenpoint has two synagogues now: one of them, the Greenpoint Shul (Ahavas Israel) goes back to 1886 and is the product of three merged congregations.  Greenpoint Shul | Historic synagogue with vibrant community  There is also a the Chabad of Greenpoint at 48 India Street http://www.chabadgreenpoint.com   which also partners with Chabad of North Brooklyn.

Greenpoint’s Jewish community was not large, and has often been seen as an extension of nearby Williamsburg. However, more young Jews have been moving into Greenpoint and have bolstered the attendance at these two synagogues, 

The Greenpoint Shul at 108 Noble Street has a beautiful, old-fashioned sanctuary that is quite similar to the “tenement style” synagogue buildings familiar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. From the outside it appears to be two separate synagogue buildings, but don’t be fooled, it’s one congregation.

NEW LOTS

The East New York neighborhood was originally founded as the Town of New Lots in the 1650s. New Lots now refers generally to the western portion of East New York, with Brownsville to the west of it. There was a sizable population of Jews in New Lots during the first half of the 1900s, which included Jews from Iberian communities and other Sephardic groups, as well as those originally from Eastern and Central Europe. 

former synagogue on Louisiana Avenue called Dorshe Tov (Dorshay Tov)
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The East New York neighborhood was originally founded as the Town of New Lots in the 1650s. New Lots now refers generally to the western portion of East New York, with Brownsville to the west of it. There was a sizable population of Jews in New Lots during the first half of the 1900s, which included Jews from Iberian communities and other Sephardic groups, as well as those originally from Eastern and Central Europe. 

 Among the synagogues that were located in New Lots were Alleppo Congregation Agudas Achim Anshei New Lots (43 Malta Street); Beth Hamedrash Hagadol (611 Williams Avenue); Congregation Dorshe Tov Anshei New Lots (21 Louisiana Avenue); Hesed Ve Emeth Society of Castorialis (71 Malta Street); the New Lots Talmud Torah (330 New Lots Avenue at Pennsylvania Avenue); United Sephardim of Brooklyn (699 Williams Avenue) and the Bikur Cholim of Wyona Street. Several of these buildings still stand today although most are now used as churches. Some of these sites are very close to each other. The New Lots “TT” was referred to as “the Cong” by people in the neighborhood, and it had a gym and other facilities popular with children and teenagers. 

Many of the youngsters in this neighborhood would attend nearby Thomas Jefferson High School on Pennsylvania Avenue. Commentary Magazine featured an article in 1958 titled https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/leonard-plotnik/the-sephardim-of-new-lotsself-containment-and-expansion/

The Jews in New Lots moved outward to other parts of Brooklyn such as Canarsie and Gravesend, as well as to New Jersey, Long Island and elsewhere.

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