Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen

Posted on 07/05/2015

Photo taken on April 29, 2014

1/160 f/6.3 30.0 mm ISO 100


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Delancey Street
Forsyth Street
Lower East Side
Romanesque Revival
New York City
New York
United States
Seventh Day Adventist Church

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Templo Adventista del Septimo Dia – Delancey Street at Forsyth, Lower East Side, New York, New York

Templo Adventista del Septimo Dia – Delancey Street at Forsyth, Lower East Side, New York, New York
Today the church at 126 Forsyth Street is known as the Templo Adventista del Septimo Dia (Seventh Day Adventist Church). But this wasn’t always the case. Look closely at the tan-and-red facade and you will notice evidence of the building’s Jewish past. Many Jewish stars are quite visible within the ornate window arches. Regardless of religious affiliation, however, this house of worship is an icon of Lower East Side history.

The Romanesque Revival building was erected in 1890 by a renowned architect named Josiah Cleveland Cody, and was a temporary home to a missionary group attempting to proselytize among the Jewish people. Their efforts did not bear fruit and they soon sold the building to the Chevrah Poel Zedek Anschei Illia. The Chevrah was founded by a small group of immigrants from the shtetl of Illia, in the province of Vilna, Lithuania. These immigrants longed for a taste of home in the midst of a foreign land. They decided to form a fellowship in order to have a place to pray together and meet with their fellow countrymen, to help each other, and to hear news from the old home.

For approximately the first ten years of its existence, the congregation had wandered from one small rented location to another on the Lower East Side. As time went on, some of the members became rich and more Americanized. They wanted to have a large synagogue of their own with a cantor, choir, and rabbi. A renovation in 1909 brought retail storefronts, and extra money to the congregation. But by the mid-1920s, the synagogue was in decline, thanks in part to "changes in the neighborhood." Nevertheless, the tight-knit community remained there until the 1960s when the building was finally sold. The new owners removed both the dome on the roof and the rose window above the main entrance – as attested by the photo below.


William Sutherland has particularly liked this photo

William Sutherland
William Sutherland
Fantastic comparison!

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Your beautiful capture was admired in Historical & Architectural Gems.
3 years ago.