The congregation was founded in 1828 by a group of German, Dutch and Polish Jews who split off from Congregation B'nai Jeshurun. Previous to 1850, the congregation met at various locations, including 32 and 38 Henry Street. By the time the congregation erected the building on Norfolk Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side that is now the Angel Orensanz Center in 1850, there had been further secessions and the congregation was composed of immigrants from Germany. It was also the largest in the United States. In 1874, the congregation merged with Congregation Adas Jeshurun of 221 West 39th Street to form Congregation Beth El. This group met at a newly constructed synagogue in Yorkville on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street, but by 1881 the more traditional German Jews of Ansche Chesed had reformed, been joined by newer immigrants, and were meeting in at Lexington Avenue and 113th Street.
In 1908, the congregation was part of the movement of upper-middle-class New Yorkers to the newly fashionable neighborhood of Harlem. The congregation opened a handsome, brick, Greek revival Temple at Seventh Avenue and 114th Street.
In 1928, the congregation again followed fashion, from Harlem to the even newer Upper West Side of Manhattan, opening its present Byzantine revival building at West End Avenue and 100th Street. The architect was Edward I. Shire.
- Max Lilienthal (1815-1882) honorary rabbi from 1852 to 1857
- J. Bondi 1859-1860
- J. Mielziner 1868
- Michael Strassfeld .-2001
- Jeremy Kalmanofsky 2001-Present
- Michael Schwab (d. 1898) 1862-1868; one of the 12 original founders of the B'nai B'rith organization
- S. Schuster 1868
- S. Hermann 1872
- Martin Sinkoff 2015
- Jonas Hecht (1805-1898) held the position c. 1845-1852 and again in 1859; one of the 12 original founders of the B'nai B'rith organization
- L. Sternberger 1851 to 1859
- A. Sternberg 1861 to 1867
- ? Figel 1867
- N. Hirschhorn ?- Present
Ansche Chesed is an egalitarian, participatory Conservative synagogue. In addition to its historic sanctuary, the congregation has a multi-story building with many classrooms and several event spaces. This makes it possible for multiple activities to take place in the building throughout the week, as well as for several minyanim to meet within the congregation. The minyanim include:
- Sanctuary Service
- Minyan Ma'at
- Minyan Rimonim
- West Side Minyan
Ansche Chesed's Sanctuary Service is the minyan that directly continues the historical congregation of Ansche Chesed; its name derives from the fact that it holds its services in the synagogue's sanctuary. This service follows the traditional Conservative liturgy (including full Torah reading and Haftarah and Musaf service). Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky delivers Divrei Torah (comments and explanations on the weekly Torah portion) several times a month and offers weekly comments on various aspects of the service. Cantor Natasha J. Hirschhorn leads the sung portion of the service, and is also Ansche Chesed's music director. Lay members of the congregation also participate actively in all facets of the service.
Ansche Chesed runs a Hebrew School, with classes that begin in pre-school and continue through the teen years. The synagogue also runs an array of other educational initiatives, focused on adult learning, literature, and family programs. A Social Action Committee oversees a series of community outreach and support programs, including the hosting of a homeless shelter, local park clean-up activities, and programs focused on topics such as the environment. Ansche Chesed hosts several unaffiliated nursery schools, including Purple Circle, Morningside Montessori, Yaldaynu Preschool, and Discovery Programs.
Ansche Chesed also houses The Havurah School, serving students from kindergarten through 7th grade. It is an independent, self-supporting school that has been at Ansche Chesed for over 20 years. At the Havurah School, students learn a wide variety of Jewish subjects primarily through the arts. Biblical improvisation, painting and drawing, work in clay, movement, creative writing, debate and music are some of the techniques used to experientally understand the Torah, the holidays, and the great themes of Jewish life, tradition, and philosophy.
-  Archived November 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Grinstein, Henry, The Rise of the Jewish Community of New York, 1654–1860 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1945)
- "Dedication of a New Synagogue". The New York Times. New York. 1874-03-08. Retrieved 2017-06-18.
- Rachel Wischnitzer, Synagogue Architecture in the United States: History and Interpretation, Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1955, p. 123
- "B'nai Brith Pioneers". The New York Times. New York. 1895-03-03. Retrieved 2017-06-18.
- "About Us".
- "AC History". anschechesed.org. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- "Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky – Bio".
- "Hazzan Natasha J. Hirshhorn – Bio".
- "Learning at Ansche Chesed". Archived from the original on 2010-05-10.