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Volume 77, Number 27 - December 05 - 11, 2007

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

The shul in the crown; Eldridge St. Synagogue is reborn

By Jefferson Siegel

After renovations that took almost 20 years and cost $20 million, the Eldridge Street Synagogue reopened to the public last Sunday. The 1887 building has been reborn as the Museum at Eldridge Street.

As the first synagogue built for the Eastern European Jewish population living on the Lower East Side, the synagogue fell on hard times starting in the 1950s as many congregants moved elsewhere.

With the renovation complete, the sanctuary will serve as a museum of Jewish history and culture. The museum is open Sundays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information is available at http://www.eldridgestreet.org.

Below, Sheryl Oring of iwishtosay.org typed visitors’ thoughts as part of her project, “Writing Home — Letters to People’s Ancestors.” Using a German-made 1950s Rheinmetall typewriter, Oring typed people’s thoughts to and about their ancestors. She typed two copies, gave one to each person and will keep the carbon copy for a book she is preparing.

In 2004, Oring sat in Washington Square Park for her “I Wish To Say” project, typing people’s letters to President George W. Bush.

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