Kehila Kedosha Janina

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Kehila Kedosha Janina
Kehila Kedosha Janina.jpg
The Synagogue in 2007
Location280 Broome Street,
Manhattan, New York City
Kehila Kedosha Janina is located in Lower Manhattan
Kehila Kedosha Janina
Shown within Lower Manhattan
Kehila Kedosha Janina is located in New York
Kehila Kedosha Janina
Kehila Kedosha Janina (New York)
Kehila Kedosha Janina is located in the United States
Kehila Kedosha Janina
Kehila Kedosha Janina (the United States)
Geographic coordinates40°43′6.58″N 73°59′28.38″W / 40.7184944°N 73.9912167°W / 40.7184944; -73.9912167Coordinates: 40°43′6.58″N 73°59′28.38″W / 40.7184944°N 73.9912167°W / 40.7184944; -73.9912167
Architect(s)Sydney Daub

Kehila Kedosha Janina (Holy Community of Janina) is a synagogue on 280 Broome Street between Allen and Eldridge Streets in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1925-27 and was designed by Sydney Daub[1] and is now the only Romaniote rite synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Romaniote traditions are separate from those of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Judaism, deriving their lineage in The Eastern Mediterranean for nearly 2000 years, long before the Spanish Inquisition.[2]

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 30, 1999, and was designated a New York City landmark on May 11, 2004.[2] It underwent a major restoration in 2006 by architect Leonard Colchamiro, a descendant of one of the community's original founders.


Kehila Kedosha Janina holds the distinction of being the only Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.[2] The congregation was founded in 1906 by Greek Jewish immigrants from Ioannina, but the synagogue itself was not erected until 1927.[3] The years from then until the Second World War were a time of prosperity for the Romaniote community in the Lower East Side: there were three rabbis in the synagogue, and on the High Holidays, there was often only standing room for synagogue services. After the Second World War, many congregants moved to other boroughs and parts of Manhattan, including Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, though these communities are no longer active.

Although the community has steadily dwindled since its pre-war heyday, services are still held on shabbat and Jewish holidays.[3] While it maintains a mailing list of 5,000 persons, it often has difficulty meeting the minyan for shabbat worship.[3] Guided tours are offered each Sunday to visitors and by special appointment.[3]

The Janina Landsmanshaft has a burial plot at Wellwood Cemetery where there is a memorial to the Jews of Ioannina killed in the Shoah.

Building layout[edit]

Kehila Kedosha Janina is somewhat unusual for a Romaniote synagogue in that it runs north south with the Ehal on the north side (Romaniote synagogues typically run east to west), the bimah is in the center of the main sanctuary (most Romaniote synagogues place the bimah on the west wall), and the internal stairway for the women's balcony. It is typical in the fact that men and women sit separately (a feature of all Orthodox synagogues). The second floor women's gallery contains a museum with artifacts, exhibits, and Judaica on Jewish life in Greece and the history of Greek Jews as well as a gift shop. Exhibited items are housed in cases along the walls on either side behind the seats, as well as in the area immediately in front of the staircase.[4][5]

In popular culture[edit]

A documentary film about the synagogue and community, The Last Greeks on Broome Street, was produced in the early 2000s. It is directed, written and narrated by Ed Askinazi, whose great-grandparents were among the congregation's founders.[6][7]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Dunlap, David W. (2004). From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12543-7., p. 123
  2. ^ a b c "Kehila Kedosha Janina Designation Report" New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (May 11, 2004)
  3. ^ a b c d Laura Silver, "Spreading little-known history of Romaniote Jews", New York Daily News (June 18, 2008)
  4. ^ Synagogue and Museum Tour Photo
  5. ^ Current Exhibits
  6. ^ Robinson, George (27 January 2006). ""When Less Is More" - A short documentary on Romaniote Jews and a pithy drama about a Moroccan Jewish family are among the standouts at Sephardic film festival". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  7. ^ "The Last Greeks on Broome Street (2005)". IMDB. Retrieved 20 January 2020.

External links[edit]