Recap: 125th Anniversary of Eldridge Street Synagogue Cornerstone Ceremony

Posted on: November 14th, 2011 at 11:17 am by

Yesterday afternoon, the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue commemorated the 125th anniversary of the Cornerstone Celebration, which transpired on November 14, 1886.  When ground was first broken at 12 Eldridge for the house of worship. The program for the festivities was packed with traditional Klezmer music, speeches from museum officials, and a tad of theater. Even Senator Chuck Schumer showed up unannounced.

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Not officially listed as guest, Schumer spoke at length about the significance of the Lower East Side, mentioning what most in the neighborhood already know.  That the area was a springboard for various socio-political movements and popular entertainment alike, and how this so-called “cradle of American Jewry” still affects us in everyday life.

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Following thereafter was Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene actor Stuart Marshall who portrayed the synagogue’s first president, Sender Jarmulowsky.  Yup, the dude who opened his eponymous bank building at the corner of Orchard and Canal Street. In character and with bilingual (English/Yiddish) oratory, Marshall transported the congregation back to the nineteenth century cornerstone ceremony by delivering the original speech. Through the repetition of the sermon, we learned that the stone itself was donated by a congregant at a price of $100.

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The program concluded with time capsule wishes for future generations, which was a tradition at most cornerstone celebrations to offer hopes for the future.

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