Kehila Kedosha Janina

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Coordinates: 40°43′6.58″N 73°59′28.38″W / 40.7184944°N 73.9912167°W / 40.7184944; -73.9912167

Kehila Kedosha Janina
Kehila Kedosha Janina.jpg
Basic information
Location 280 Broome Street,
Manhattan, New York City
Affiliation Judaism
Rite Romaniote
Status active
Heritage designation 2004
Architectural description
Architect(s) Sydney Daub
Completed 1927

The Kehila Kedosha Janina (Holy Community of Janina) synagogue at 280 Broome Street between Allen and Eldridge Streets in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City was built in 1925-27 and was designed by Sydney Daub.[1] It is now the only Romaniote rite synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Romaniote traditions are separate from those of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Judaism.[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.


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moved to other boroughs and parts of Manhattan, including Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, though these communities are no longer active.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 3,000 persons, it often has difficulty meeting the minyan for shabbat worship.[3] Guided tours are offered each Sunday to visitors.[3]

The Janina landsmanschaft[disambiguation needed] 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).

In popular culture[edit]

A documentary film about the synagogue and community, "the Last Greeks on Broome Street." It is directed, written and narrated by Ed Askinazi, whose great-grandparents were among the congregation’s founders.[4]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Dunlap, David W. (2004) From Abyssinian to Zion. 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", [[Daily News (New York)}Daily News]] (June 18, 2008)
  4. ^ The Last Greeks on Broome Street

External links[edit]