Temple Emanu-El

Serving Jews of New York City since the 19th century, Temple Emanu-El is one of the most prominent synagogues in North America. This Romanesque Revival landmark is also home to the Bernard Museum of Judaica.

About Temple Emanu-El

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In the 1840s, a few dozen Jews from Germany established a private congregation that was a branch of Reform Judaism. The group's first place of worship was in a small building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. At the end of the decade, the organization moved into a larger property that had previously served as a Methodist church. The 1850s marked the first time that the Emanu-El entity moved into the affluent Upper East Side district of Manhattan. Pressured by the new ideas of Reform Judaism, the congregation became more liberal and westernized compared to Orthodox Judaism and other related branches. English-speaking rabbis and other Americanized clergy were hired to help the members assimilate into the American lifestyle. Characterized by prosperity and free-spirited living nationwide, the Roaring Twenties appropriately helped Emanu-El evolve to unprecedented levels. Joseph Durst invested approximately $7 million in the development of a new and grand synagogue for the rapidly growing congregation. A Romanesque Revival design was chosen for the building that would eventually become one of the largest of its kind in the Jewish world. Since its opening in the late 1920s, Temple Emanu-El has been one of the most prominent architectural landmarks along the ritzy stretch of Fifth Avenue that straddles Central Park.

Bernard Museum of Judaica

Temple Emanu-El houses the Bernard Museum of Judaica, which has one of the biggest private collections of Judaica in the United States of America. Some of the museum's items can be traced back to the early 1300s. Torah crowns, cases and other intricate ornaments for Jewish use are part of the permanent collection. The museum also has plenty of scriptures, such as prayer books and other specialty literature written in Hebrew, Yiddish and various dialects of Arabic. Although Emanu-El has traditionally consisted of Jews from Europe, the organization celebrates and preserves the rich history of ancient Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East. You can find Torah scrolls that have been once used by Iraqi and Persian Jews. Hannukah lamps, silverware, children's toys, textiles and traditional clothes are among the items that are displayed in the galleries of the Bernard Museum of Judaica. Most of the artefacts are made of silver, gold, bronze and other metals that have been commonly used by artisans and craftsmen in Jewish communities. If you're curious to learn more about Jewish history and Judaism, visit the Stettenheim Library at Temple Emanu-El. This library has a growing collection of books and other printed publications about Jews in America, Israel, Europe and other regions. Additionally, the Streicker Center hosts various special events, such as seminars and conferences about modern topics in the Jewish world.

Visiting Temple Emanu-El (Location and Transportation)

Temple Emanu-El is situated at the corner of 65th Street and 5th Avenue in the upscale neighbourhood of the Upper East Side. To get to this famous synagogue by rapid transit, you could take the New York City subway to the 68th Street station. This underground station is located near Hunter College. You can also take a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus to various points along 5th Avenue. Multiple MTA buses stop right near the Central Park Zoo, which is located across from Temple Emanu-El. Public parking in the Upper East Side is limited, so don't count on finding a free spot to squeeze in your car. You'll most likely need to seek a parking garage on Lexington Avenue, Park Avenue and other busy avenues that run through this residential district.

Location: One East 65th Street, New York City, NY, 10065

Click here to visit Temple Emanu-El official website

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