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Let’s take a trip to the Museum at Eldridge Street

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February 10, 2020 Tiffani Samaroo

New York City holds many historical gems for you to explore! The Museum at Eldridge Street gives a unique insight to the Jewish community throughout the years. The museum is located near the Corlears Hook landing on the Lower East Side route; it’s a 20-minute walk from the landing. 

The Museum at Eldridge Street is housed in the 1187 Eldridge Street Synagogue. This synagogue was the first great house of worship that was built in America by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. This landmark is the only remaining indicator of the vast wave of Jewish migration to the Lower East Side that is open to the public. The museum makes sure to educate its visitors with tours, cultural events, and programs. These activities help to tell the story of Jewish immigrant life through history. 

The permanent exhibition in the museum includes Yiddish signs, ritual objects, and other historical artifacts. The interactive displays were the recipient of the American Association of Museums Gold Award Interactive Installation. These displays give further insight into Jewish immigrant history and Jewish practices. The Family History Center features photographs and a rotating exhibit of stories from the Lower East Side. The only thing that is from the 21st century is the immense stained-glass window that was made by artist Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans.

The Eldridge Street Synagogue was once the heart of the Lower East Side and has since become part of Chinatown. Although its neighbors have since changed, the museum continues to welcome visitors of all faiths and cultural backgrounds. Every June, the museum celebrates diversity within its neighborhood with its signature egg rolls, egg creams, and empanadas. 

The Museum at Eldridge Street was founded with the mission to restore the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue as its home. With restoring it, the museum wished to serve people of all backgrounds and provide them with cultural programs. The synagogue was a palpable symbol of religious and economic freedom granted by their new land. Today, it stands for the cultural contributions that were brought to America by generations of immigrants.

 

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