In the East Village, an endangered synagogue and its divided congregation
Unless something is done soon, a century-old temple in the East Village may turn to dust.
Some neighborhood residents and preservationists are upset that the congregation had a deal with mega New Jersey developers the Kushner Companies to demolish the Mezritch Synagogue on East Sixth Street and turn it into high-end residences with a ground floor place for worship.
But synagogue's few remaining congregants and the temple's rabbi say that the building is in such disrepair that it is a danger to the surrounding area, and selling to the highest bidder remains the only way to ensure having a safe place to worship.
"This is a battle about the heart and soul our neighborhood," said Andrew Berman, president of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who is battling to save the synagogue "It tells the story not only of how New York City grew but how our country did."
The Mezritch Synagogue is the last operating "tenement synagogue," so named because of the narrow slot it occupies mid-block, still in operation on the Lower East Side. Read on ...
-- David Freedlander
Photo: Jefferson Siegel