Eldridge Street Synagogue Offers Free Admission to Furloughed Federal Employees

Posted on: January 25th, 2019 at 5:03 am by

With the government shutdown now clocking in at a month, many establishments are trying to ease the financial burden on those who have yet to receive a paycheck in 2019. This includes businesses and organizations on the Lower East Side.

The Museum at Eldridge Street is offering free admission for all federal employees currently on furlough during the government shutdown. Federal workers who are currently working without pay need only show valid federal employment ID (i.e. pay stub) upon arrival at the historic synagogue and museum.

“Our hearts and minds are with individuals and families struggling right now to make ends meet,” says Executive Director Bonnie Dimun. “We hope our small contribution helps to lighten emotional and financial burdens.”

It may seem a small gesture, but it speaks volumes in how the synagogue regularly connects with the community, both during good times and hardship. And they’re certainly no stranger to the latter. As previously reported, the synagogue celebrated its 10 year anniversary of restoration in 2017 – a project that took twenty years and $20 million to complete. And it was an uphill climb to this proverbial rebirth: without a substantial congregation, the synagogue itself fell out of active use in the mid-1950s. The main sanctuary was sealed shut, while the ground floor “study” remained operational. Two decades elapsed before the grand room was revisited, ruined by water and the elements.

However, it wasn’t until 1986 that preservationist Roberta Brandes Gratz founded the Eldridge Street Project to save the institution. Through her guidance, the synagogue obtained landmark status and attracted donations from 18,000 supporters that went toward restoration.

Now, the landmarked space has become a unique draw for art, cultural collaboration, and a collective for new thought on immigration and cultural preservation.

The waived admission applies to employees as well as an additional three guests, and is valid for the duration of the partial shutdown. It extends to federal employees residing in all states and territories of the United States.

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