Fire Tears Through High-Profile Manhattan Synagogue

By Forward Staff

Published July 11, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A four-alarm fire Thursday night engulfed Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, a large and high-profile Modern Orthodox synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Five firefighters sustained minor injuries fighting the blaze, which sent flames and billowing black smoke into the night sky. The fire was reported around 8:30 p.m. and was contained about an hour later, the Associated Press is reporting. A police spokesman told the AP that the fire broke out on the building’s top floor and on its roof, ultimately causing the roof to collapse.

No synagogue staff or congregants were hurt, and no Torahs were damaged in the fire, according to press reports.

“You can cry over the loss, which is a very, very real thing,” the congregation’s longtime spiritual leader, Haskel Lookstein told the website DNAinfo.com. “But the most important thing to do in the face of something like this is to ask yourself, ‘how do we respond? Now, what do you do when you have just had a loss?’”

He went on to say that he has complete faith that the 139-year-old congregation, widely known as KJ, would rally to rebuild what was lost in the fire.

The 110-year-old synagogue building had been undergoing renovations since May; the work was to have been completed by this fall.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.