Temple Emanu-El Synogogue
Temple Emanu-El (Emanu-El means “God is with us” in Hebrew) was the first Reform Jewish congregation in New York City and because of its size and prominence, has served as a flagship congregation in the Reform branch of Judaism since its founding in 1845, according to Wikipedia. The congregation, with 3,000 families, is located at East 65th Street and 5th Avenue. Its Romanesque Revival building is one of the largest and most beautiful synagogues in the world.
According to the Temple website, the congregation was founded by 33 mainly German Jews who assembled for services in 1845 in a rented hall in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In 1847, the congregation moved to a former Methodist church at Chrystie Street. With more Jews coming from Germany to New York, the congregation moved progressively uptown.
In 1868, the congregation moved into a building at 5th Avenue and 43rd Street, the largest synagogue structure in the U.S. Temple leaders decided to move again as the area was becoming more commercialized. The synagogue was sold to the Durst family and demolished in 1927 for to make room for commercial development. Consolidating in 1927 with Temple Beth-El (5th Avenue and 76th Street) the congregation built the current structure at 5th Avenue and 65th Street.
From the Temple Emanu-El website: “Over the years, and owing to the long history of the congregation, the mode of worship conducted at Temple Emanu-El has been called “Classical Reform.” Today, we prefer the appellation of “practical reform,” a spirit in the congregation that is open to inclusion, flexibility and sensitivity to the needs and desires of our various constituent members.”
According to Wikipedia, prominent members of Temple Emanu-El include New York Times owner and publisher Adolph Ochs (1858-1935), banker Solomon Loeb (1828-1903), first Jewish cabinet secretary Oscar Solomon Straus (1850-1926), lawyer Louis Marshall (1856-1929), banker Felix Warburg (1871-1937), Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals Lewis Strauss (1896-1974), Governor of New York Herbert Lehman (1876-1963), Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer, banker Ace Greenberg, comedian Joan Rivers, financier Leon Black, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker.
Recent funerals at the Temple include noted Federal District Judge Milton Pollack, New York City Mayor Ed Koch, and composer Marvin Hamlisch.