Temple Emanu-El

Temple Emanu-El

This majestic temple on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is the most famous synagogue in New York City and the largest house of Jewish worship in the world. Thousands travel to Temple Emanu-El every year to visit its museum and sanctuaries. Many wealthy and prominent New Yorkers are members of the congregation including Michael Bloomberg and Joan Rivers.

A Fifth Avenue Landmark

Temple Emanu-El, which means “God is with us”, was founded in 1845 by a group of 33 German Jewish immigrants. The first services were held in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in a second floor loft at Grand and Clinton Streets. The congregation grew larger as more Jews came to New York from Germany. As the community became more successful, the congregation began to move uptown. In 1868, the congregation Emanu-El built what was at the time the biggest synagogue in the world at Fifth Avenue and East 43rd.

In 1927 the congregation relocated their house of worship to its present location at Fifth Avenue and East 65th Street after merging with the congregation Beth-El, which means “House of God”. Other facilities including a religious school, adult learning centre and nursery school were added. Today this stunning building, inspired by Romanesque and Moorish architecture, houses a congregation of approximately 3,000 families and is the largest synagogue in the world.

Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica

Temple Emanu-El houses a museum of Judaica which opened in 1997. The Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum features artifacts, ritual objects and memorabilia which document the temple’s rich history from 1845 and tells the story of Jewish tradition and culture.

The permanent collection is displayed in three galleries and features more than 650 pieces dating back to the 14th century. Highlights include dreidels, Hanukkah lamps, Torah crowns and ornaments and an 18th century circumcision knife and sheath bequeathed by New York Court of Appeals Judge Irving Lehman.

Services, Music and Events

Worship services take place in the Main Sanctuary Friday evenings at 5:15pm and Saturday mornings at 10:30am. The services at Temple Emanu-El feature a professional choir of 17 classically trained singers accompanied by an organist. The stirring music is inspired by the great choral synagogues of Europe. An organ recital takes place before the Friday evening service.

Temple Emanu-El also hosts a busy schedule of events including lectures, films and symposiums. Lectures are free and open to the public.

Touring the Temple

Visitors can take self-guided tours of the sanctuaries and the museum between the hours of 10am and 4:30pm Sunday to Thursday. Guided tours should be booked two weeks prior for groups over ten. Tours of the sanctuaries take approximately 45 minutes and the museum takes 30 minutes. Admission is free.

Guided tours are not scheduled on Fridays. Self-guided tours can be taken between 10am and 3pm.

Visitors should enter through the Marvin and Elisabeth Cassell Community House at One East 65th Street.

Visiting Temple Emanu-El in New York City

Temple Emanu-El is located at One East 65th Street on the Upper East Side of New York City across from Central Park. The temple is within walking distance of many transit stops and public parking is easily accessible.

Location: One East 65th Street, New York City, New York
Phone: 212-744-1400
Web Form: Contact by web form

For more information including service hours and a calendar of upcoming lectures and events visit Temple Emanu-El official website.