Lower East Side Synagogues: Focus on the Stanton Street Shul
By Julie Hartman
This summer we’ll be visiting some of the other synagogues that are still in operation on the Lower East Side. Congregation B’nai Jacob Anshei Brzezan–known to the neighborhood as the Stanton Street Shul—has entered its centennial year as one of the Lower East Side’s continuously active orthodox synagogues. It has become spiritual home for many artists, writers and others who have moved to the area in recent years.
The building is one of the few remaining examples of the “tenement synagogue” model – its narrow yet inviting interior very much in distinction to the grand architecture of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Both buildings feature three floors—a Bes Medrash, the main sanctuary, and a lofted women’s sanctuary. Eldridge Street was built as a freestanding structure; the synagogue at Stanton Street was not.
Like Eldridge Street and so many other historic sacred structures, the Stanton Street Shul has faced a number of building preservation and stabilization related challenges throughout the years. To address these, the shul’s rabbi, Josh Yuter, routinely sources talent and expertise from Stanton Street members. Together they choose projects in the interest of the synagogue’s long-term structural viability. All grants and donations are put towards remedying moisture problems and updating antiquated heating and electrical systems.
Rabbi Yuter serves his congregation as an actively engaged teacher and community leader. He offers two classes per week: The Halachic Process and Current Jewish Questions (these are open to members and nonmembers alike).
Stanton Street Shul does not offer scheduled tours. However, a history of the synagogue is available on its official website: http://www.stantonstshul.com/
What are some of your favorite synagogues and buildings of the Lower East Side?