Manhattan’s Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, a 120-year-old landmark synagogue, went up in flames on Sunday after years of neglect.
The synagogue was built in 1850 as a Baptist Church and in 1885 was purchased by the first Ashkenazi congregation in New York City.
It was once a center of Jewish life in New York, providing aid and community to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe as they resettled in the Lower East Side.
The synagogue’s rabbi for 50 years was Ephraim Oshry, one of the few torah scholars to survive the Holocaust.
Since as far back as the 1940s, the synagogue has been threatened with demolition as the congregation lacked the funds to do necessary renovations.
In recent years congregants and conservationists have tried to raise money to save the synagogue. It’s unclear whether or not Sunday’s fire will completely doom those efforts.