Syrian Jewish communities of the United States
The Syrian Jewish Communities of the United States are a collection of communities of Syrian Jews, mostly founded at the beginning of the 20th century. The largest are in Brooklyn, Deal, New Jersey and Miami. The population of the New York and New Jersey communities is currently estimated at about 75,000.
The first Syrian Jews to arrive in the United States were Jacob Dwek and Ezra Sitt, both of Aleppo. They sailed from Liverpool, England on July 22, 1892 on the Germania. After the start of the 20th century, more immigrants came to the U.S. for three reasons: First, an economic decline in Syria crippled their ability to earn a living. Second, the Young Turks, a rebel group responsible for the overthrow of the Ottoman sultan, were conscripting Jews into the Army. Third, the rise of Zionism led to increased anti-Semitism in the Middle Eastern region. Most settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Later settlements were in Bensonhurst, Midwood, Flatbush, and along Ocean Parkway in Gravesend, Brooklyn. The latter is considered to be the current center of the community, though the community was formerly centered around the Magen David Synagogue on 67th street in the Bensonhurst neighborhood as listed below:
- Congregation Shaare Zion, at 2030 Ocean Parkway between Avenue T and Avenue U, housing several synagogues in a single building along with a separate house as an additional annex structure. It is the largest, and is now considered the flagship synagogue of the community. The synagogue was constructed in 1960 in the Gravesend neighborhood, and the community soon followed it there throughout the rest of the 1960s and early 1970s. Currently, the synagogue holds the seat of Chief Rabbi Saul J. Kassin. The Rabbi's father Rabbi Jacob S. Kassin, along with the Rabbi's brother-in-law Rabbi Baruch Ben Haim; were the previous spiritual leaders of the Syrian community in New York respectively, until their passings in 1994 and 2005. Another important rabbinic figure for a number of years was Rabbi Abraham Hecht. But due to conflicting political interests during the 1990s, the Rabbi was forced into submitting his resignation. Sharing in rabbinical duties are Rabbi Yaakov Ben Haim (son of Rabbi Baruch Ben Haim), Rabbi David Maslaton, Rabbi Meyer Yedid, Rabbi Raymond Haber, Rabbi Moshe Lagnado, Rabbi Moshe Arking, and Rabbi Raymond Beyda. The synagogue generally serves the Aleppo or (Halabi) Syrian community.
- Congregation Magen David Synagogue, at 2017 67th Street between 20th and 21st Avenues. This synagogue was the former flagship of the community, and was erected in 1921. The synagogue was at its height of popularity during the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s. The synagogue is still in continual use for daily and Shabbat prayers. It is also very notable with the community at present for holding funeral services. In 2001, the building was declared a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. By 2004, the building was certified and listed with the National Register of Historic Places. Rabbi Salomon Lankry is the current rabbi presiding over the congregation.
In addition to Syrian Jews proper, the community includes smaller groups of Israeli, Lebanese, Egyptian, Turkish, Moroccan and other similar origins, who have their own place within the overall "Syrian" communal structure. A distinction is also recognized between Halabis (from Aleppo) and Shamis (from Damascus). Furthermore, there is a perceived difference between the Modern Orthodox "White Hats" and those tending to Haredi Judaism "Black Hats", though this is a matter of degree rather than an absolute division. There are no Conservative or Reform congregations affiliated with the Syrian community.
Within the community, there is also a Sephardic Community Center fulfilling functions similar to the national JCC organization. The community is characterized by multi-generational businesses; often, children are encouraged to stay within the family business. Still, many families, recognizing the challenges to financial success posed by a lack of a university degree, have been encouraging undergraduate and graduate education, especially in the fields of business and finance. Those who pursue higher education are encouraged to remain within the familial structure. A number of magazine publications, such as Image and Community Magazine, also cover social topics in relation to the community as a whole.
Presently, there is an array of different synagogues that cater to the community's many different backgrounds, customs and liturgical styles. They are as follows:
|Ahaba Ve Ahva||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Shimon Alouf||Egyptian||1744 Ocean Parkway, Ahaba.org|
|Ahaba Ve Ahva Congregation & Yeshiva||New York||Brooklyn||Egyptian||2001 East 7th Street|
|Ahi Ezer Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Shaul Maslaton||Syrian - Shami||1885 Ocean Parkway|
|Ahi Ezer Torah Center||New York||Brooklyn||Syrian - Shami||1950 East 7th Street|
|Ahi Ezer Yeshiva Synagogue||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Hanania Elbaz||Egyptian||2433 Ocean Parkway, Ahiezeryeshiva.org|
|Aur Torah||New York||Staten Island||Rabbi Aharon Zeev||Syrian||1180 Rockland Avenue, Aurtorah.org|
|Avenue O Synagogue, Ohel Yeshua VeSarah||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Shemuel Beyda||Syrian||808 Avenue O, Avenueosynagogue.com|
|Ateret Torah||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Yosef Harari Raful||Sephardic Haredim||901 Quentin Road|
|Bet Shaul U'Miriam||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi David Cohen||Syrian||2208 Avenue S|
|Congregation Beth-El of Flatbush||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Ani||Syrian - Shami||2181 East 3rd Street, betelny.org|
|Congregation Beth Torah||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Yehuda A. Azancot||Syrian||1061 Ocean Parkway, Beth-Torah.com|
|Beth Yosef||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Aharon Farhi||Lebanese||2108 Ocean Parkway, BethYosef.com|
|B'nai Yosef Synagogue||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Haim Benoliel||Syrian, Sephardic Haredim||1616 Ocean Parkway|
|Bnei Binyamin Torah Center||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi David Seruya||Sephardic Haredim||727 Avenue O|
|Congregation Bnei Ovadia||New York||Brooklyn||Syrian||1922 East 8th Street|
|Bnei Shelomo V'Yaffa||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Eliezer Zeytouneh||Syrian||1305 Gravesend Neck Road, Bneishelomovyaffa.com|
|Congregation Bnei Yitzhak||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Joseph Beyda||Syrian||730 Avenue S, Bneiyitzhakweb.org|
|The Edmond J Safra Synagogue||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Eli Mansour||Syrian||1801 Ocean Parkway, ejss.org|
|Edmond J. Safra Synagogue||New York||Manhattan||Rabbi Elie Abadie||Syrian||11 East 63rd Street, ejsny.org|
|Emek Hatorah Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Syrian||1781 Ocean Parkway|
|Congregation Har HaLebanon||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi David Jemal, Rabbi Clem Harari||Lebanese||820 Avenue S|
|Hayim Shaal Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Mordechai Maslaton||Syrian||1123 Avenue N, HayimShaal.org|
|Congregation Hochma U'Mussar||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Harold Sutton||Syrian||718 Avenue S, Hochmaumussar.org|
|Kehilat Bnei Yaakov||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Yaakov Farhi||Syrian||630 Avenue S|
|Keter Sion Torah Center||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Max Maslaton||Sephardic Haredim||1914 East 8th Street, Ketersion.com|
|Kol Israel Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Tawil, rabbi shweky, rabbi zanulani||Syrian||3211 Bedford Avenue, Kolisrael.org|
|Congregation Kol Yaakov||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Raymond Beyda||Lebanese||1703 McDonald Avenue|
|Kollel Ohel Moshe||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Shlomo Lankry||Moroccan||1848 East 7th Street|
|Madison Torah Center||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Danny Tawil||Syrian||2221 Avenue R|
|Magen Abraham||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Duvi Ben Soussan||Syrian - Shami||2066 East 9th Street|
|Magen David Synagogue of Manhattan||New York||Manhattan||Syrian||177 Sullivan Street, MagenDavidNY.org|
|Magen David Synagogue||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Haim Shaul, Rabbi Joey Haber||Syrian||2130 McDonald Avenue, Magendavidsynagogue.org|
|Manhattan Sephardic Congregation||New York||Manhattan||Rabbi Raphael Benchimol||325 East 75th Street, Sepharad.org|
|Midrash Moshe ben Maimon Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Yair Alfieh||Syrian - Shami||59 Gravesend Neck Road|
|Mill Basin Sephardic Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Yirmi Levy||Syrian||2133 East 64th Street, MillBasinsc.com|
|Mishkan Yerushalaim||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Yehoshua Alfieh||Syrian - Shami||520 Avenue X, MishkanYerushalayim.org|
|Mikdash Eliyahu Synagogue||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Raymond Harari, Rabbi Nissim||Syrian||2145 East 2nd Street, Mikdasheliyahu.org|
|Netivot Israel Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Gad Bouskila||Moroccan||1617 Ocean Parkway, Netivotisrael.org|
|Ohel David & Shlomo - Torat Israel Sephardic Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Yosef Bitton||Syrian||710 Shore Boulevard, Ohelds.com|
|Congregation Ohel Moshe||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Moshe Levy||Syrian||1601 Avenue P|
|Congregation Ohr Hachaim||New York||Brooklyn||Syrian - Shami||2286 Coney Island Avenue|
|Rabbi Yehouda Ben Betera Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Yohai Cohen||Syrian - Qamishli||2296 Coney Island Avenue, Rybbc.org|
|Sephardic Lebanese Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Eliyahu Elbaz||Lebanese||805 Avenue T, Slcshul.com|
|Sephardic Lebanese Congregation Annex||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Raymond Beyda, Rabbi Solly Mizrahi||Lebanese||807 Avenue T|
|Sephardic Institute Synagogue||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Moshe Shamah, Rabbi Ronald Barry||Syrian||511 Avenue R, Judaic.org|
|Congregation Shaare Rahamim||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Shlomo Churba||Syrian||1244 East 7th Street|
|Congregation Shaare Shalom||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Avi Harari||Syrian, Egyptian||2021 Avenue S, Shaareshalom.com|
|Shevet Achim Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Yosheyahu Shammah, Rabbi Yosef Hamra||Syrian - Shami||708 Avenue T|
|Shevet Achim Youth Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Syrian - Shami||706 Avenue T|
|Shuva Israel||New York||Brooklyn||Persian||2015 Avenue R|
|Tiferet Torah Congregation||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Michael Haber||Syrian||1741 East 3rd Street|
|Yad Yosef Torah Center||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi David Ozeri, Rabbi David Sutton||Syrian||1032 Ocean Parkway|
|Congregation Yam Hatorah||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Isaac Mohadeb||Syrian||1573 East 10th Street|
|YDE Synagogue||New York||Brooklyn||Rabbi Ralph Gindi||Syrian - Shami||2533 Coney Island Avenue, ydeschool.org|
The New Jersey community is mainly based in Monmouth County, especially Deal, Elberon, Long Branch, Oakhurst and Bradley Beach. The community largely consists of people who reside there during the summer months, though some live there permanently, especially in the more inland regions of Eatontown, Oakhurst and West Deal. Hillel Yeshiva, located in Ocean Township, is a notable private school that is popular among the youth of year round residents in the Deal area.
|Bet Rachel||New Jersey||West Long Branch||Rabbi Howard Bald, Rabbi Richard Tobias||Syrian||48 Larchwood Avenue|
|Edmond J. Safra Synagogue of Deal||New Jersey||Deal||Rabbi Isaac Farhi||Syrian||75 Hathaway Avenue, Safrashulnj.org|
|Logan Road Synagogue||New Jersey||Ocean Township||Rabbi Sion Ozeri||Syrian||1200 Roseld Avenue|
|Magen David of West Deal||New Jersey||West Deal||Rabbi Saul J. Kassin, Rabbi Albert Setton, Rabbi Meyer Laniado, Rabbi Joseph Dana||Syrian||395 Deal Road, Westdealshul.org|
|Magen David Congregation||New Jersey||Bradley Beach||Syrian||101 5th Avenue|
|Synagogue of Deal||New Jersey||Deal||Rabbi Isaac Dwek||Syrian||128 Norwood Avenue|
|Synagogue of Oakhurst||New Jersey||Oakhurst||Syrian||280 South Lincoln Avenue, Synagogueofoakhurst.org|
|Ohel Simha||New Jersey||Long Branch||Rabbi Shemuel Choueka||Syrian||295 Park Avenue, Ohelsimha.com|
|Ohel Yaacob||New Jersey||Deal||Rabbi Moshe Malka, Rabbi Eli Manour||Syrian||4 Lawrence Avenue, Ohelyaacob.com|
|Ahabah Ve Ahva||New Jersey||Deal||Rabbi Michael Haber, Rabbi Joey Haber||Egyptian||108 Norwood Avenue, Hechalshaul.weebly.com|
|Shaare Ezra||New Jersey||Long Branch||Rabbi David Nahem||Syrian||36 Cedar Avenue, Cedaraveshul.org|
|Ohel Yis'hak Sephardic Synagogue||New Jersey||Allenhurst||Rabbi Moshe Shamah||Syrian||108 Allen Avenue|
|Magen Avraham||New Jersey||West Long Branch||Rabbi Reuven Semah||Syrian||479 Monmouth Road, wlbshul.com|
|Shaare Tefilah||New Jersey||Eatontown||Rabbi Moshe Douek, Rabbi Victor Gheriani||Syrian||20 Whalepond Road, Eatontownshul.com|
South Florida serves as a winter retreat for many Syrian Jews from the New York metropolitan area. The majority live in a gated community called Turnberry in Aventura and near-by in Sunny Isles facing the beach.
|Edmond J. Safra Synagogue of Turnberry||Florida||Aventura||Rabbi Galimidi||Syrian||19275 Mystic Pointe Drive, Safraflorida.com|
|Shaare Zion of Florida||Florida||Sunny Isles Beach||Rabbi Aaron Lankry||Syrian||200 178th Street|
|Shaare Ezra Sephardic Congregation||Florida||Miami Beach||Rabbi Sova||Syrian||945 41st Street, ShaareEzra.us|
|Congregation Magen David||California||Beverly Hills||Rabbi Ariel Ovadia||Syrian||322 North Foothill Road, MagenDavid.org|
|Magen David Sephardic Congregation||Maryland||Rockville||Rabbi Haim Ovadia||Syrian||11215 Woodglen Drive, MagenDavidSephardic.org|
|Beit Harambam Sephardic Congregation||Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||Rabbi Moshe Arbiv||Israeli||9981 Verree Road|
- Chafets, Zev (October 14, 2007). "The Sy Empire". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- Roffé, Sarina (2007). "The Jews of Aleppo". Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- "Rabbis/Hazzanim". shaarezionny.com. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- "Overview". shaarezionny.com. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- "Jewish Image". imageusa.com/. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- "Community Magazine". communitym.com. Retrieved January 20, 2017.