"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


Life at the Synagogue


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Learn more about life at the synagogue:

Marriage license

March 29, 1921
Printed paper form with handwritten entries
10.5 x 8 inches

Marriage licenses are a goldmine of information. From this certificate, which was filed with the New York State Department of Health, a whole story takes shape: Harry Replansky was born in 1898, and came to the United States from Volpe, Russia. He lived on the Lower East Side at 114 Chrystie Street and worked as a chauffeur. On March 29, 1921, he married May Wohl, a stenographer, who lived at 55 Avenue C. It was the first marriage for both bride and groom. Mae was born in New York City, but both her parents, Jacob Wohl and the former Gussie Shaffer, where born in Austria. At 22, Mae was a year younger than her new husband.

Morris Dubrin, who was the shames at Eldridge Street, presided over weddings from 1907 to 1927, leaving a cache of marriage certificates for the Museum’s archives, including this one. Couples did not need to be Eldridge members to be married by Dubrin, and the ceremonies did not always take place in the synagogue. In an oral history, Dubrin’s daughter, Gussie, recalled: “A lot of people would come just with their parents. They didn’t want a big wedding, so they’d come to the house. They’d bring some cakes and schnapps. I remember that they didn’t always have a minyan. So my father would go down to Seward Park and ask the people to come up for schnapps and a piece of cake. I remember that very clearly.”

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