"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

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Around the neighborhood

Today, Eldridge Street and the streets nearby are home to recent immigrants from the Fujian province of China, part of a continuously expanding Chinatown. Most storefronts feature signs lettered in Chinese, grocers sell Asian goods and restaurants specialize in the cuisine native to the neighborhood’s residents. A century ago, in the years following the 1887 opening of the Eldridge Street Synagogue, this neighborhood was the largest Jewish community in the world. Merchants advertised their wares with signs in their native language, Yiddish, a fusion of German, Hebrew and other dialects written in the Hebrew alphabet. These merchants catered to the needs of a transplanted Jewish community, selling prayer shawls and prayer books, kosher meats, offering the services of a mohel or a mikvah.

Use the links below to find artifacts of this bygone neighborhood.