"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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Life at the Synagogue

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Learn more about life at the synagogue:

Burnt mortgage

1945
Glass jar with stopper containing burnt paper
6.75 x 4 (diameter) inches

In 1887, the congregation took out a $50,000 loan from the East River Savings Bank in order to pay for the construction of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. In the fall 1944, the synagogue’s members finally raised the $10,000 needed to pay it off. The following March, at a celebration advertised in the Yiddish newspaper, Morgn Zhurnal-Tageblat, and featuring a performance by a leading cantor, the congregation ceremoniously burnt their paid-off mortgage. The remains of the document are contained in this jar, whose top is stamped with the image of the synagogue’s façade. Outright ownership of their synagogue building was a huge cause for celebration for a congregation whose members were dwindling and whose finances had been precarious, at best, for years.

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