Historic Orthodox Jewish Organization Sells East Broadway Building

Posted on: April 16th, 2019 at 5:03 am by

Way east on East Broadway, more links to the neighborhood’s Jewish past are disappearing. Word is now circulating that the four-story pre-war tenement at 235 East Broadway just changed hands.

Lower East Side Jewish history permeates this site (East Broadway still retains some of those roots). The property had collectively housed the United Jewish Council of the Lower East Side and Union of Orthodox Rabbis

The latter organization was established at 235 East Broadway in 1902, and is the oldest organization of Orthodox rabbis in the country. It was founded as Agudath Harabonim, in response to the more secular Solomon Schechter’s recruitment to head the formerly-Orthodox-leaning Jewish Theological Seminary (Upper West Side). Within one hundred days of his appointment at the turn of last century, this splinter group of rabbis organized and moved down to the Lower East Side.

So far, there is no record of sale for either building. But the new owner – E8 NYC Holdings LLC – did take out a $1.7 million mortgage on 235 East Broadway, according to the city’s property database.

235 East Broadway, circa 2014

Apparently 235 East Broadway was cleared of its contents last Wednesday. History hauled away in Junk Luggers trucks, as chronicled by Lower East Side resident Aiden Elias:

East Broadway was littered with papers that had blown off the back of these truck, and as I started to pick them up I saw that many of these documents represented records of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, correspondence in Hebrew and Yiddish, newspaper clippings, pages from religious books, all of which dating back decades.

After standing on East Broadway for a few moments, two Orthodox Jewish men walked up the block and began trying to peer through the now clearly vacant building, its windows thrown wide open. I asked if they knew anything about what was going on and was told that the building had sold, “at a good price too.” While hailing from Brooklyn, they had heard the news through friends and turned up looking for salvageable books. I pointed them in the direction of the scraps of paper which lined the block and showed them the items I had found.

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