Two-and-a-half years after the Young Israel Synagogue moved out of its building on East Broadway, demolition work has finally begun. They sold the building to a developer, who planned a new condo project. In exchange, the synagogue received several million dollars and a promise of a new sanctuary, a gym and classrooms as part of the new building.
This afternoon, workers were clearing out the interior, and hauling the rubble to a large dumpster. All of this time, Young Israel has been holding services in the chapel at the Bialystoker Old Age Home across the street, as well as the East Side Torah Center on Grand Street. In a message on Young Israel’s web site, Rabbi Yeshaya Siff says, “this past year has been an unsettled one for (us)… Our facilities are comparatively limited, and some of our programs disrupted. Our ‘ancestral’ home on East Broadway stands painfully barren- our shiny new facilities remain a dream on paper through no fault of our own.”
He said the shul’s officers are “working diligently” to resolve the building crisis. Siff, the synagogue’s rabbi for 45 years, told the Jewish Daily Forward the developer had not been able to tell him when construction would begin.
Back when the demolition was announced in 2007, local preservation activist Linda Jones (via a neighborhood blog), relayed what the National Register report had to say about the building:
Three-story-and-basement, Greek Revival brick rowhouse, c. 1837; now four-story building with Neo-Grec cornice and lintels; stoop removed; combined with 227 East Broadway. Purchased in 1891 by Machziekei Talmud Torah School; sold in 1947 to Beth Jacob Parochial School of the East Side; sold in 1962 to Young Israel Synagogue; now Algemeiner Journal.