"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

In its earliest years, the Eldridge Street congregation was run by a small group of successful businessmen. They made the most of their professional skills, electing officers, having regular meetings, drawing up rules and guidelines, overseeing the care and maintenance of their grand new synagogue and filling the seats with worshippers. They struggled with raising funds, maintaining order during services and managing the need to keep the Sabbath at a time when Saturday was a regular work day. What emerged was a congregation that was respectful of Old World tradition and belief, but that was also very much a product of America.

Click on the pictures below to see objects used by Eldridge Street leaders as they led the congregation in its heyday.