It doesn’t need to be Valentine’s Day for us to feel love in the air at the Museum at Eldridge Street. Our 131-year-old landmark building inspires effusive language from anyone who visits – and who could blame them? The sanctuary’s sumptuous decorative motifs are really quite romantic. After all, the interior was specifically designed to stun those who entered; to make congregants marvel at the beauty and power of this spiritual space. The paint covering every inch of the walls and ceiling, the gleaming lighting, the vibrant colored glass – it’s made for swooning.
Preserving, restoring, and maintaining this inspiring site has always been a labor of love. Ever since Gerard Wolfe first stepped into the haunting decay of the shuttered sanctuary, people have been swept away by a desire to care for this architecture and the very human legacy it embodies. Any restoration that takes twenty years and $20 million must be fueled by a deep devotion and connection.
Now fully restored, the Museum maintains an air of the personal and intimate. Our docents, a volunteer corps about 40 strong, lead Museum tours every hour, six days a week. They are a dedicated group. Many have a personal story or family connection to the synagogue or the old neighborhood and if you ask during your visit, you’ll likely get to hear that story firsthand. By the time your tour at Eldridge Street is over, you just might feel like family yourself.
Of course we’ve also seen our fair share of romantic love at Eldridge! Couples have been getting married in the sanctuary since its opening in 1887. The Museum has an collection of historic marriage certificates of couples who held their ceremony at the synagogue.
And even when the beautiful sanctuary was in disrepair, it was still attracting couples for its grandeur and timeless feel. In the middle of restoration, couples like the Edelsteins and the Steins, shown below, tied the knot.
And couples still do today! Every year, couples host their beautiful ceremonies under the chuppah at Eldridge Street. And these days, instead of the timeworn beauty of a unrestored space, you get gleaming historic details and a Kiki Smith-designed window presiding over the occasion. If you’re looking for a stunning, unique venue, give us a call at 212-219-0888 x204!