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Park East Synagogue

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Park East Synagogue

Park East Synagogue, Congregation Zichron Ephraim
Park East Synagogue is located in New York City
Location 163 East 67th Street, New York City
Built 1889-1890
Architect Schneider & Herter
Architectural style Byzantine Revival, Moorish Revival, Romanesque Revival
Governing body Congregation Zichron Ephraim
NRHP Reference # 83001738[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 18, 1983
Designated NYCL January 8, 1980

Park East Synagogue is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in New York City.


Congregation Zichron Ephraim was established by Rabbi Bernard Drachman and Jonas Weil to promote Orthodox Judaism as an alternative to Reform Judaism popular on the Upper East Side.[2]

The architects were Schneider and Herter who designed numerous tenements on New York's Lower East Side as well as Hell's Kitchen neighborhoods. The building is similar to other synagogues built at the time which were in the Moorish Revival style that also featured a prominent Rose Window. One of the most remarkable characteristics is the asymmetrical twin towers with the eastern tower being taller (most other synagogues of the period featured twin towers of similar height). The towers are also adorned differently. Each of the towers originally were also topped by a bulbous dome which have since been removed.[2] It is one of fewer than a hundred surviving nineteenth-century American synagogues.[3]

Over the door way engraved in granite and written in Hebrew is a verse from Psalm 100. "Enter into His Gates with Thanksgiving and into His courts with praise."[2]

Rabbi Drachman served as spiritual leader for fifty-one years. He died in 1945. Zev Zahavy was appointed rabbi of the synagogue on September 1, 1952. He was known as a dynamic spokesman for Orthodox Judaism. More than 200 of his sermons were reported on in the New York Times. He and his wife Edith, a noted educator, founded the Park East Day School. On March 16, 1957, Robert Briscoe, the Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, carrying his tallis bag, visited and prayed at the synagogue on Shabbos morning.

Since 1962, the synagogue's rabbi has been Yitzchak Meir Helfgot[4] and its Cantor is Benny Rogosnitzky.[5]

The Park East Day School now educates children from early childhood through eighth grade. The synagogue building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI visited the synagogue in the midst of a visit to New York City. This was the third papal visit to a synagogue, and the only such visit in the United States of America. The Pope was given a box of matzahs and a silver Seder plate (it was almost Passover when the visit occurred); members of both the Catholic and Jewish religions wore their respective skullcaps.[6][7]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ a b c Application for National Historic Site status
  3. ^ Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues, Mark W. Gordon, American Jewish History 84.1 (1996) 11-27 [2]
  4. ^ "Chief Cantor Helfgot Bio: Park East Synagogue". Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ ".". January 27, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  6. ^ Garland, Sarah (April 3, 2008). "Pope To Visit Upper East Side Synagogue". The New York Sun. Retrieved April 4, 2008. 
  7. ^ [The New York Times]

External links

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