by Ellen Levitt
Brooklyn has a large number of synagogues, and they come in many varieties. You can easily find various types of Orthodox shuls,as well as Conservative, Reform, non-denominational; Ashkenazi and Sephardi. Congregations with perhaps a bare minyan and others with a few thousand members. But for all the synagogues Brooklyn has within its midst, it has also seen many synagogues disappear. Some have merged with other nearby congregations while others closed up, their members and assets dispersed. Dozens of shuls have been closed up and the buildings torn down, other structures erected on their lots. Other closed synagogues still exist in a bittersweet fashion: their buildings still stand but the sites are now occupied by churches, schools, medical facilities, or even serve as private residences.
I have been documenting these “lost synagogues” of Brooklyn, as well as in the other NYC boroughs and Governors Island, for more than a decade. In my 2009 book The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn, published by the scholarly press Avotaynu, I offer photos and text about more than 80 former synagogues. Read More »Brooklyn’s “Lost Synagogues”