Year of Years

In honor of our momentous 365th Anniversary, our Year of Years, a full array of celebratory programs and activities have filled our calendar, along with special publications, showcasing Shearith Israel’s unique cultural diversity and history.

We have marked this truly historic milestone with the following programs and celebrations:

Passover and the American Imagination (March 2018) Rabbi Soloveichik led a tour de force symposium with special guest, historian, Harold Holzer and a display of priceless artifacts in celebration of Shearith Israel’s vital place in American history followed by a festive luncheon honoring members, Robert Kapito and Simon Salama-Caro.

Shabbat Bereshit Luncheon (October 2018) – We honored our 5779 Hatanim and their special Year of Years initiatives:

  • Zachary Edinger – revitalizing and catalyzing the grassroots activities of the congregation, including existing societies, committees, and newer initiatives
  • Marc Wiznia – Investing in our future by strengthening our young families and youth programming

Rabbi Soloveichik’s American History Shabbat Lectures (October-November 2018) – A major standing room only 3-part lecture series on the most significant moments in American Jewish history pertaining to Shearith Israel over the last 365 years.

From Recife to New York: A Shabbat Dinner with Today’s Conversos of Brazil (December, 2018) – Highlighting the unique history of our congregation and its connections to current events in Brazil, Israel, and around the world.

Shabbat Shira Sing-Along Luncheon (January 2019) – A luncheon with our talented musical triumvirate of Hazzan Rabbi Ira Rohde, Associate Hazzan Rev. Philip L. Sherman, and Shamash Zachary Edinger, showcasing and transmitting our unique musical traditions.

For God and Country: Chatham Square Memorial (May 2019)An annual event honoring the patriotic service rendered by the members of our congregation and decorating the graves of 19 veterans of the American Revolution. This Year of Years ceremony included special presentations by Colonel Jonathan de Sola Mendes, USMC, Retired, and by Lieutenant Arthur Goldberg, USN, Retired, as well as the participation of a color guard, field music, and a commemorative booklet.

Day Trip to the Touro Synagogue (July 2019) – Celebrating July 4 with a trip to our sister community, Congregation Jeshuat Israel, a lecture by Rabbi Soloveichik as well as a Jewish walking tour, and hashcabah service at the Touro cemetery.

 The Travels of the Torah (September 2019) – a majestic event that featured:

  • Rabbi Soloveichik’s keynote lecture on “The Travels of the Torah: From Spain to Portugal, From Amsterdam to America, marking 365 Years of Judaism in America”
  • a reunion between descendants of Don Isaac Abarbanel, one of the greatest Sephardic rabbinic figures of all time, and certainly the greatest Jewish Portuguese figure of all time, and His Royal Highness, the Duke of Braganza;
  • the welcoming and rededication ceremony of a newly and meticulously restored centuries-old American Torah;
  • the unprecedented return of our three precious sets of Myer Myers rimonim, which were exhibited together for the first time.

Cultural Heritage Events

A series of events focused on particular countries and regions of origin for members of our community, to honor and celebrate their journeys from there to here.

Remembering Baghdad – Between the Tigris and the Hudson: Celebrating Iraqi Jewish Heritage at Shearith Israel  (December 2018) – This first of several events showcasing the many nationalities that made Shearith Israel their home throughout our 365 years, up until current times, focused on Shearith Israel members who emigrated from Iraq, often under the worst of circumstances, but brought their pride and rich traditions to Shearith Israel and beyond.

Remembering Baghdad Film Screenings (January-February 2019) – Screenings of two films on the roots and fate of the Jewish community of Baghdad:

  • Letters from Baghdad
  • The Last Jews of Baghdad

Out of Egypt: Celebrating Egyptian Jewish Heritage at Shearith Israel (May 2019) – A program moderated by Rabbi Soloveichik, featuring presentations by noted author, Andre Aciman, personal reminiscences from Emy Cohenca and her family, plus short presentations by our panelists Lucienne Carasso Bulow, Professor Arnold Franklin, Rabbi Albert Gabbai, and Jeffrey Mosseri, as well as an exhibit curated by the American Sephardi Federation on Jewish life in Egypt.

Historic Torah Scrolls Restoration Project

A vital effort to restore many of our ancient sifrei Torah that have fallen into desrepair and render them kosher once more for ritual use.

Year of Years Publications

Click below for digital versions:

  • Commemorative Remembering Baghdad booklet, featuring Shearith Israel’s Iraqi members’ stories in their own words
  • Commemorative Out of Egypt booklet, featuring Shearith Israel’s Egyptian members’ stories in their own words
  • Commemorative For God and Country booklet, featuring an Honor Roll and Tribute Listing for all members who have served in the Armed Forces, going all the way back to the American Revolution
  • Commemorative Travels of the Torah booklet, featuring articles and full color photographs about the Abarbanel-Braganza reunion and our Historic Torah Scrolls Restoration Project
  • Year of Years edition of A Guide for the Perplexed: A Newcomer’s Primer to Congregation Shearith Israel
  • Year of Years edition of Friday Night Services: A Guide to Congregation Shearith Israel’s Unique Customs

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