Park East Synagogue
Park East Synagogue, Congregation Zichron Ephraim
|Location||163 East 67th Street, New York City|
|Architect||Schneider & Herter|
|Architectural style||Byzantine Revival, Moorish Revival, Romanesque Revival|
|NRHP Reference #||83001738|
|Added to NRHP||August 18, 1983|
|Designated NYCL||January 8, 1980|
The architects were Schneider and Herter who designed numerous tenements on New York's Lower East Side as well as Hell's Kitchen neighborhoods. The building is similar to other synagogues built at the time which were in the Moorish Revival style that also featured a prominent Rose Window. One of the most remarkable characteristics is the asymmetrical twin towers with the eastern tower being taller (most other synagogues of the period featured twin towers of similar height). The towers are also adorned differently. Each of the towers originally were also topped by a bulbous dome which have since been removed. It is one of fewer than a hundred surviving nineteenth-century American synagogues.
Rabbi Drachman served as spiritual leader for fifty-one years. He died in 1945. Zev Zahavy was appointed rabbi of the synagogue on September 1, 1952. He was known as a dynamic spokesman for Orthodox Judaism. More than 200 of his sermons were reported on in the New York Times. He and his wife Edith, a noted educator, founded the Park East Day School. On March 16, 1957, Robert Briscoe, the Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, carrying his tallis bag, visited and prayed at the synagogue on Shabbos morning.
Since 1962, the synagogue's rabbi has been Arthur Schneier. The Assistant Rabbi is Benjamin Goldschmidt. Rabbi Harold Einsidler is the religious spiritual organizer and principal of the religious school, his wife Toby is the dynamic office and youth leader. The synagogue's Chief Cantor is Yitzchak Meir Helfgot and its Cantor is Benny Rogosnitzky.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI visited the synagogue in the midst of a visit to New York City. This was the third papal visit to a synagogue, and the only such visit in the United States of America. The Pope was given a box of matzahs and a silver Seder plate (it was almost Passover when the visit occurred); members of both the Catholic and Jewish religions wore their respective skullcaps.
In 2016 the synagogue was the subject of international press coverage when members of the synagogue heckled and jeered U.N. Director General Ban Ki-moon as he gave an address in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In his speech he called the Holocaust a "colossal crime" and added that he is "deeply disturbed by the massacres in South Sudan, by the continued carnage in Syria, and by the atrocities being inflicted by Daesh and Boko Haram.” Earlier he had criticized Israel's occupation of the West Bank, and congregants were angry regarding his criticism of Israel, claiming it promoted terrorism. He later repeated his criticism of Israel, but added that he in no way condoned terrorism.
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Application for National Historic Site status
- Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues, Mark W. Gordon, American Jewish History 84.1 (1996) 11-27 
- "Chief Cantor Helfgot Bio: Park East Synagogue". Jewishboxoffice.com. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
- ".". www.highholidaymusic.com. January 27, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
- Garland, Sarah (April 3, 2008). "Pope To Visit Upper East Side Synagogue". The New York Sun. Retrieved April 4, 2008.
- [The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/19/us/nationalspecial2/19synagogue.html?ref=us]
- UN chief heckled at NY synagogue during holocaust speech Times of Israel, Feb 11, 2016
Media related to Park East Synagogue at Wikimedia Commons