Khal Adath Jeshurun
Khal Adath Jeshurun (KAJ) is an Orthodox German Jewish Ashkenazi congregation in the Washington Heights neighborhood, in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It has affiliated synagogues in the heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Monsey, New York, and in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York.
The community is a direct continuation of the pre-war Jewish community of Frankfurt am Main led by Samson Raphael Hirsch. Khal Adath Jeshurun bases its approach, and structure, on Hirsch's philosophy of Torah im Derech Eretz; it was re-established according to the protocol originally drawn in 1850, to which the congregation continues to adhere.
The community is colloquially called "Breuer's" after Rabbi Dr. Joseph Breuer, founder of the American incarnation and its first Rabbi. He was a grandson of Samson Raphael Hirsch.
Unlike most Ashkenazic synagogues in the United States, which follow the Eastern Askhenazic (Poilisher) liturgical rite, KAJ follows the Western Ashkenazic rite, in its liturgical text, practices, and melodies. They use the Rödelheim Siddur Sfas Emes, though the congregation's nusach varies in some places from Rödelheim.
Full service community
True to the "full-service community" as originally established in Frankfurt, the community includes a synagogue, an elementary school (located at 85 Bennett Avenue), various educational facilities, a social hall, a high school, a Beth Midrash (these are several blocks north, where Bennett Avenue meets 190th or 191st St). The Kehilla also offers its members a mikveh, Kashrut supervision and Shechitah. It also offers an independent Chevra kadisha. The members of the community tend to live in the buildings on Bennett Avenue, Overlook Terrace, and the adjacent cross streets towards the west and Fort Washington Avenue.
Torah im Derech Eretz
Although the community has traditionally been seen as a bastion of S.R. Hirsch's philosophy of Torah im Derech Eretz (Torah with "the way of the land"), in many ways it has moved closer to the Torah only philosophy popular in many other communities. There has been some conflict between leading members of the community as to which direction it should take.[not in citation given]
- Rabbi Breuer: founded the American community., led it until his passing in 1980.
- Rabbi Shimon Schwab: In 1958, Rabbie Breuer recruited Rabbi Schwab as Assistant Rabbi. Rabbi Schwab, became head of the community in 1980, until his passing in 1995.
- Rabbi Zechariah Gelley: In 1993, Rabbi Schwab helped select Rabbi Gelley as his assistant. Rabbi Gelley became the community's third leader in 1995, until his passing on April 19, 2018.
- Rabbi Yisroel Mantel, originally of Lucerne, Switzerland, was Rabbi Gelley's assistant, and succeeded him.
- Stephen M. Lowenstein: Frankfurt on the Hudson, The German Jewish Community of Washington Heights, 1933-82, Its Structure and Culture, Wayne State University Press 1989.
- Official website
- "Rabbi Joseph Breuer: The Rav of Frankfurt, U.S.A.", Ernst Bodenheimer, Jewish Observer
- On the Breuer Kehilla, Pinchas Frankel, ou.org
- Khal Adas Jeshurun, Gershon Tannenbaum, jewishpress.com