Carved Lions Ark Decoration
Undated, probably mid 20th century
Carved and painted wood with metal support
20.5 inches x 48 inches
Gift of Irwin Reznik, 2010
This carved panel, featuring gilded standing lions and painted Ten Commandment tablets once hung over the ark in a Brooklyn synagogue, but
it also has a connection to Eldridge Street.
In the late 19th century, a man named Isser Reznik came to America from Russia with six dollars in his pocket, settled on the Lower East Side and opened a textile business at 77½ Eldridge Street. With time and hard work, he became wealthy and supported many fledgling Jewish institutions. Family legend holds that he once won oil wells in a poker game, but later lost them—along with his fortune—during the Great
Isser’s son Jacob repaired this panel when it broke while being installed above the ark at Young Israel of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach in Brooklyn, and it remained there for more than 60 years. Last year, the Reznik family came back to Eldridge Street in spirit when Isser’s great grandson, Irwin, received the approval of the National Council of Young Israel to donate this panel to the Museum when the Brooklyn congregation shut it doors.