Monday, December 12, 2011

USA: Hanukah Celebration at New York's Kehila Kedosha Janina, December 18th

New York, NY. Kehila Kedosha Janina, interior. Photo: Vincent Giordano

New York, NY. Kehila Kedosha Janina. Bar Mitzvah. Photo: Vincent Giordano

USA: Hanukah Celebration at New York's Kehila Kedosha Janina, December 18th

One of my favorite Jewish spaces in New york is the tiny Kehila Kedosha Janina (KKJ) on Broome Street on the Lower East Side. This is the home to the region's Greek (Romaniote) Jewish community - an enormously hospitable extended family. The synagogue and its small museum continues services and is open to the public on Sundays. Next week is a great time to visit - to celebrate Hannukah with traditional Greek-Jewish Hannukah treats (boumwelos) and to honor John and Christine Woodward of Woodward Gallery at 133 Eldridge Street.

The congregation wants to fill the sanctuary (not too hard given its small size) with joy!

Where: Kehila Kedosha Janina, 280 Broome Street (between Allen and Eldridge)When December 18

New York, NY. Kehila Kedosha Janina. Torah scroll. Photo: Vincent Giordano

Here's some history from museum curator and community historian Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos:

In the early 20th century, as Jews from the Balkans began to arrive on the Lower East Side, Shearith Israel (the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue uptown on West 70th and Central Park West) established institutions to help the new immigrants. Foremost among these were the settlement house and synagogue originally created at 86 Orchard Street. Soon the small dwelling was insufficient to house the growing population of Balkan Jewry and it was necessary to find larger quarters.

In 1914, the synagogue, now named Berith Shalom, was moved to 133 Eldridge, where the facilities were now larger and could include a Talmud Torah. As the neighborhood changed and the Balkan Jews moved to the outer boroughs and the suburbs, Berith Shalom was closed and the building at 133 Eldridge went through many incarnations. In May of 2007, John and Kristine Woodward moved their gallery to 133 Eldridge Street and, in the process of restoration, uncovered a piece of decorated plaster wall from the old synagogue. John lovingly restored and mounted the section and presented it to Kehila Kedosha Janina as a gift. It now hangs in our synagogue/museum.

No comments: