Congregation Beth Israel West Side Jewish Center

Edit profile
Congregation Beth Israel West Side Jewish Center
Congregation Beth Israel West Side Jewish Center is an Orthodox congregation located at 347 West 34th Street, Manhattan, New York, in the Garment District, near Penn Station. Established in 1890, it constructed its current building in 1924”“1925. Rabbis have included Joseph Schick, Norman Lamm, and Solomon Kahane. As of 2010 , the rabbi was Jason Herman.

Early history
Congregation Beth Israel West Side Jewish Center was established in 1890 by Orthodox German Jews and Jews from Austria-Hungary. In its early years the congregation worshiped at 252 West 35th Street, a building later purchased by St. Paul Baptist Church. In 1905, the congregation constructed a new synagogue building at 252 West 35th Street, designed by architect John H. Knubel. Its sanctuary sat 600. In 1924, it broke ground for its current three-story building at 347 West 34th Street. Designed by Gronenberg & Leuchtag, it was completed in 1925. Dr. Joseph Schick became rabbi in 1926. Born in Ónod in Austria-Hungary in 1892, he served as a chaplain in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, and was the rabbi of Budapest's Beth Israel synagogue of 1918 to 1922, then emigrated to the United States. His books The Kaddish: Its Power for Good and Joseph's Harvest were published in 1928 and 1932 respectively. He served until his death in 1938, at age 49. Schick was succeeded in 1939 by Harry M. Katzen and then William Novack, and then in 1940 by Leo Ginsburg.

1950s to 2000
In 1952, Norman Lamm, later president of Yeshiva University for over 25 years, was appointed to the role. He would serve until 1958, before moving to the (unrelated) Upper West Side Jewish Center. Solomon (Shlomo) Kahane, ordained in 1954 at Yeshiva University, was subsequently rabbi of the congregation for 38 years; he died in April, 2004. He was a first cousin of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the Jewish Defense League and the Israeli political party Kach . The Jewish Defense League's first meeting was held at the West Side Jewish Center on June 18, 1968.

Events since 2000
Kahane was succeeded by Dr. Richard Weiss. A licensed physician, Weiss subsequently became rabbi of Young Israel of Hillcrest in Queens. The synagogue was in the news in 2007. The congregation rents the entire side of its building for advertisements, and that year it was covered with a huge billboard for the film Resident Evil: Extinction. The image did not offend any members, according to then-rabbi Jason Herman, and the congregation found the additional income generated by the billboard helpful for maintaining the building. As of 2010 , the rabbi was Jason Herman. A former investment banker, Herman received his rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He was also Executive Director of the International Rabbinic Fellowship and a fellow at Rabbis Without Borders. Known for his activism, he was one of 22 Jewish leaders arrested at the United Nations in 2007 after a protest demanding the removal of Iran from the body. In 2008, he was one of a group of liberal Orthodox rabbis who boycotted kosher meat from Agriprocessors over concerns that the company's practices were unethical.

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via