Congregation Ramath Orah is an Orthodox synagogue located in Manhattan's Upper West Side, close to Columbia University. It occupies a neo-Georgian building on West 110th Street, originally built in 1921 as the first stage of a large West Side Unitarian Church.
It is the synagogue portrayed in Ari L. Goldman's book, Living a Year of Kaddish.
The congregation was founded in 1942 by Rabbi Dr. Robert Serebrenik, his wife Mrs. Julia Serebrenik (née Herzog), and sixty-one other Jewish refugees from Luxembourg. Serebrenik, who was born in Vienna in 1902, had been Chief Rabbi of Luxembourg since 1929. About 1000 Jews fled into France at the time of the German invasion of Luxembourg, May 10, 1940. Luxembourg had approximately 4,000 Jewish residents at the beginning WWII, about half of whom had recently sought refuge there from Nazi countries. Rabbi and Mrs. Serebrenik stayed and organized a series of clandestine escapes of about 2,000 members of the Jewish population into southern, unoccupied France and elsewhere. On March 20, 1941, Serebrenik met in Berlin with Adolf Eichmann who demanded that Luxembourg must be “Judenrein”, and was given eleven days to complete the emigration of the Jewish population from Luxembourg. Serebrenik managed to secure the exit of a further 250 Jews before he and his wife were driven out by the Gestapo. According to the New York Times, Serebrenick stayed, working to secure visas for more Jews, “until he was seized by the Gestapo and beaten unconscious.”
With the new century, Ramath Orah experienced a revival with a dynamic, young Rabbi Stephen Friedman. The Columbia Spectator describes it as “very popular among Columbia students who want a spirited, liberal, Orthodox service."
The Hebrew name Ramath Orah reflects a translation of the name Luxembourg = Mountain of Light.
- Rabbi Saul Berman
- Professor Paul S. Appelbaum
- Professor Ester Fuchs
- Professor Ari L. Goldman
- Professor Louis Henkin
- Professor Adam Zachary Newton
- Rabbi Ismar Schorsch
- Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
- Dean David Schizer
Ramath Orah is the synagogue described in Ari L. Goldman’s book, Living a Year of Kaddish.
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- Dolkart, Andrew. Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development, 2001, p. 459
- West Side Unitarian Church nycago.org
- Congregation Ramath Orah
- World of Their Fathers - New York Times
- "ROBERT SEREBRENIK RABBI, IS DEAD AT 62", The New York Times, February 12, 1965.
- Josephs, Susan. "The Greening Of The Rabbinate: Manhattan shuls looking to the future are tapping twenty- and thirtysomething rabbis. Can the new breed keep young, fickle Jews fired up?" , The Jewish Week, March 31, 2000.
- Carhart, Matt & Aronauer, Rebecca. "CU Jewish Students Seek High Holiday Services", Columbia Spectator, October 3, 2003.