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GONE FOREVER: 6 Stunning Photos Of Historic Beth Hamedrash Hagadol

Manhattan’s Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, a 120-year-old landmark synagogue, went up in flames on Sunday after years of neglect.

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol is an iconic landmark in New York today. Image by Flickr/Jonathan Dawkins

The synagogue was built in 1850 as a Baptist Church and in 1885 was purchased by the first Ashkenazi congregation in New York City.

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in the early 1900s. Image by Wikimedia Commons/Jewish Encycolpedia

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.

An interior shot of the historic synagogue. Image by paul berger

The synagogue’s rabbi for 50 years was Ephraim Oshry, one of the few torah scholars to survive the Holocaust.

Image by Flickr/Jonathan Dawkins

Since as far back as the 1940s, the synagogue has been threatened with demolition as the congregation lacked the funds to do necessary renovations.

The peeling doors of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, photographed in 2011. Image by Flickr/Jonathan Dawkins

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.

The pews of the synagogue were in disrepair long before the fire. Image by Youtube/LowerEastSideJewishConservancy

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at [email protected] or on Twitter @naomizeveloff

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