"This was more than a house of worship. This was the portal of a new life in a new land for the largest wave of immigrants ever."

Bill Moyers


Running the Congregation


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Learn more about running the congregation:

Aliyah book

1885-1895, shown, excerpt from 1892
Cloth covered ledger book with entries in ink
11.25 x 5.25 inches (closed)

The Museum’s collection includes several aliyah books like this one which list successful bids by members for Torah honors. During services, using a practice called shnodering, an officer of the congregation would stand on the bimah and conduct an auction for the right to read from the Torah. Bidding wars would sometimes break out, leading to increased funds for the congregation, but also, at times, a breakdown in decorum.

The pages shown here list bids for the High Holidays in 1892, with a top bid of $150 from Nathan Hutkoff, a plate-glass dealer, who was the president of the congregation. Shnodering was an effective but controversial method of raising money, and was the subject of much debate among the leaders of the Eldridge Street congregation.

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