The carefully restored Eldridge Street Synagogue, once a place of worship for the nineteenth and twentieth century waves of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, now serves as an arts and education center. Its exhibitions and tours cater to visitors of all ages and any background.
In 1887 the Eldridge Street Synagogue opened in New York's Lower East Side in a Moorish Revival building with brass fixtures, stained glass and hand-stenciled walls beneath its high vaulted ceiling. From that time until the Great Depression of the 1930s, the synagogue served as a place of worship and a center of Talmudic scholarship.
In its heyday the Synagogue served not only the religious needs of New Yorkers but also provided social, economic and educational resources. From free meals, information on jobs and housing and care for the sick and dying, the Synagogue helped the poor to deal with the trials of daily life. It was also a valuable resource for newly arrived Americans who were learning how to function in their new homeland.
The contemporary museum features three collections. One focuses on the immigrant experience, another on Jewish ritual and practice and the last on the historic building itself. Still used for worship by a small congregation, the building remains a landmark.