Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lower East Side Conservancy Offers Tour of Colonial Jewish NYC Sites

New York, NY. First Jewish Cemetery of Congregation Shearith Israel. Photo: Samuel Gruber (2008)

 Lower East Side Conservancy Offers Tour of Colonial Jewish NYC

For readers worried about the state of Lower Manhattan two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, you can see for yourself on a walking tour of those spaces and places known to Jewish during the colonial period.  While few physical traces remains of the first Jewish houses or the first synagogue that stood on Mill Street, The Lower East Side Conservancy will introduce the Jewish history of the area.  

Sites are likely to include those of the:

• First & Second Spanish/Portuguese Rented Synagogues of Congregation Shearith Israel;
• First Mill Street Synagogue;
• Colonial Revival Houses;
• Stone Street;
• Sites of the homes of: Asser Levy,( ?-1681) New Amsterdam's first kosher butcher &
Gershom Mendes Seixas, (1745-1816), first native-born Jewish minister.

The tour will also include a visit to the still extant, but usually closed, Jewish cemetery of Congregation Shearith Israel located at Chatham Square in Chinatown.  A perfect ending for those who'd like to head for some dim sum (spoiler alert - there were no Chinese restaurants for Jews or anyone else in old New Amsterdam).

You can read more about Shearith Israel cemeteries here.

Huguenots and Jews in Early New York from Historical Atlas of NYC , p43

Here is the information about the tour form the LES Conservancy:
Jewish Community of Colonial New Amsterdam Walking Tour 

Sunday, November 18, 2012      10:45 AM 
Fraunces Tavern
Join us as we trace the origins of Jewish settlement in New Amsterdam. We will visit the former locations of Jewish sites in Lower Manhattan and discuss their historical significance. Sites include early Spanish and Portuguese rented synagogues and Mill Street Synagogue, the first synagogue built in North America.

A tour of Congregation Shearith Israel's cemetery at Chatham Square (now Chinatown) is included. This is the oldest known Jewish cemetery in New York City. From 1654 to 1825 all Jews in New York City belonged to this one congregation. This Jewish cemetery dates from 1683.
Meet at the corner of Pearl Street and Broad Streets across from Fraunces Tavern.
Adults: $18; seniors and students: $16
($2 additional day of tour)

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