3. The congregation originally found homes in makeshift spaces

Eldridge Street Synagogue-Museum at Eldridge Street-Tour-Lower East Side-Chinatown-NYC

As grand as today’s Eldridge Street Synagogue is, the first locations of worship for the congregation, established in 1852, were in makeshift spaces that included an attic, below a carpenter shop, above a saloon, and a former church. It was not until 1887 that the doors to the building on 12 Eldridge Street opened.

According to the Museum at Eldridge Street, this was the first grand synagogue to be built by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. The experience the Eldridge Street Congregation had with makeshift locations was typical of the time, with the average congregation finding a home in spaces such as former churches — like Eldridge Street — and event halls.