The Petition to Save Beth Hamedrash Hagodol on Norfolk Street

Posted on: March 4th, 2013 at 11:20 am by


You read our earlier plea to save this priceless historic building at 60 Norfolk, Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, most recently the home of the first Russian-American Jewish Synagogue in the nation.

The time is now.

Neighborhood activists Friends of the Lower East Side just started an online petition to help save this remarkable 163-year-old building. Its history is rich, having been both a church and a synagogue, thereby appealing to a universal group of people (should religion even be a factor).

Per the email blast:

Remove not the ancient landmarks that thy ancestors set up, Proverb 22:28 [ed: AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!]

Join the campaign to preserve a 163-year-old landmarked building.  Oppose granting of a Hardship Application leading to a permit to demolish Beth Hamedrash Hagodol, 60 Norfolk Street, and replace it with a luxury condo.

1850:  Erected as the Norfolk Street Baptist Church – a congregation that evolved into Riverside Church on the Upper West Side. The building was later occupied by a Methodist church.

1885:  Acquired by Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagodol and converted into the first Russian-American Jewish synagogue in the nation.  It became known for its eminent rabbis and as a center for prayer, religious study and the interpretation of Jewish law.

1967:  Granted landmark designation by the Landmarks Commission, acting on a request by the synagogue’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, a survivor of the Holocaust and a distinguished religious scholar.

2012:  Hardship Application submitted to the NYC Landmarks Commission by the present rabbi who had refused offers of funding for building maintenance and allowed the structure to deteriorate.

You can also write into the Landmarks Preservation Commission and ask them to deny the application to demolish this structure.

Come one, come all NYC.

Help save our history.

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