Templo Adventista del Septimo
Today, the church at 126 Forsyth Street is known as the Templo Adventista del Septimo (Seventh Day Adventist). But this wasn’t always the case. Look closely at the tan-and-red facade and you will notice evidence of the building’s Jewish past. Many Jewish stars are quite visible within the ornate window arches. Regardless of religious affiliation, however, this house of worship is an icon of Lower East Side history.
The building itself was erected in 1890 by a renowned architect named Josiah Cleveland Cody, and was a temporary home to a missionary group. Before long, a group of Lithuanian Jews from outside Vilna settled there, making it headquarters for the Chevrah Poel Zedek Anschei Illia. A renovation in 1909 brought retail storefronts, and extra money to the congregation. But by the mid-1920s, the synagogue was in decline, thanks in part to “changes in the neighborhood” (sound familiar?). Nevertheless, the tight-knit community remained there until the 1960s when the building was finally sold.
An Inventory to the Chevrah Poel Zedek Anschei Illia Collection, 1893-1961 [Yeshiva University]