Shabuot night, Thursday, May 25 | 11:00 pm
Enjoy this annual public lecture illuminating the themes of the holiday. Come for the Torah, stay for the cheesecake!
This year’s topic is:
“King David, the British Monarchy, and the Grandmother of King Charles III”
To sponsor this lecture, click here.
Shabuot, Shabbat, May 27
Shabuot, Shabbat, May 27 | Following the reading
Congratulate our readers by sponsoring Kiddush in their honor! Your enthusiasm helps our young girls maintain their commitment and active role in our community.
To sponsor, click here.
Thanks to the efforts of the Shearith Israel Sisterhood, each year in celebration of both the harvesting of the first fruits as well as the giving of the Torah at Sinai, our synagogue is transformed into a botanical sanctuary with a breathtaking array of flowers and plants. There is no more beautiful place to celebrate Shabuot than amongst colorful and fragrant blooms that fill our majestic synagogue and complement our festive pastel Torah mantels.
Yizkor is a popular memorial prayer recited in Ashkenazic communities on Kippur and on the last day of each holiday. It was composed in the Middle Ages to commemorate the destruction of Jewish communities during the crusades. It was originally recited as a collective memorial and only on Yom Kippur. The prayer however became a popular way to memorialize one’s loved ones individually, and in the Ashkenazic communities of Eastern Europe it began to be recited on all of the holidays. Today, the custom has become so widespread that many visitors to our synagogue (and sometimes new members too) are surprised and occasionally dismayed to learn that there is no “yizkor” in the Sephardic liturgy.
Here at Shearith Israel, we have a different time-honored tradition for memorializing the names of one’s loved ones. After the return of the sefer, men are invited to make offerings before the open ark. The Hazzan stands in front of the ark to recite an appropriate prayer for each individual’s offering. Offerings can include prayers of thanksgiving, health, memorial prayers, or for any other special occasion. Many people make an offering on the holidays to remember their loved ones by name front of the open Ark.
To make an offering please come to the front of the synagogue after the return of the Torah. The Hazzan will ask for your Hebrew name, what the offering is for, and for the name or names of who is to be honored or memorialized. Women are encouraged to contact the Shamash in advance of the holiday with their offerings – which will then be recited at the appropriate time on their behalf. The Shamash or Hazzan will bow to you when your offering is being made.
At the population of the city, including the Jews, was moving uptown, the location on Mill Street (now South William Street) in Lower Manhattan became increasingly inconvenient. In 1834 the congregation built a new synagogue on Crosby Street (street numbers 56 to 62), between Broom and Spring Street. It was 53 feet wide and 75 feet long, substantially larger that the previous two buildings. The cornerstone for this building was the same one that had been used in the first Mill Street synagogue – a vivid symbol of the continuity of generations and traditions within the congregation. The synagogue was built with a basement, ten feet high, which was used for housing a chapel, the congregational school, and meeting rooms.
The Crosby Street synagogue was described in the New York Times as a “remarkably neat building.” The Boston Courier reported that it had been “constructed in admirable taste.”