News

At Central Synagogue

A Look at Our History: April 2013

Posted April 3, 2013

A Look at Our History: April 2013

Natalya Rolbin, 2009

A visitor, Natalya Rolbin, came to our Shabbat services in 2009. During that planned visit, she celebrated good news regarding her unborn child, in an atmosphere which gave her the peace she sought. During her visit she made a sketch of our building “to honor its beauty” and celebrate her joy. Happily, Natalya recently sent her sketch to Central Synagogue’s Archives. Our Archives contain Central's history, both historic and current, including documents and photographs of our impact on our larger community.

These monthly historical briefs are prepared by Amy Goldberger, Chair of the Archives Committee and Anne Mininberg, Archivist

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A Look at Our History: Women’s History Month 2013

Posted March 1, 2013

A Look at Our History: Women’s History Month 2013

Rebecca Kohut, undated archival image

In honor of Women's History Month, we share this archival image of Rebecca Kohut.

Rebekiah (Rebecca) Bettelheim Kohut was born 1864 in Hungary into a learned family of rabbis. In 1867 the family immigrated to America. In 1887 she met Ahawath Chesed’s recently appointed and recently widowed Rabbi Alexander Kohut. Although never having children of her own she became mother to his eight children, six of whom were under thirteen years old. As the children grew up she found time to work as a champion of improved public sanitation and founded the Sisterhood of Personal Service at Ahawath Chesed. This group of ladies aided immigrant families adapt to their new life in America. She earned an honorary degree from the Jewish Institute of Religion in 1934 and wrote both her husband’s and her own memoirs. In 1951 she died at the age of 87. Surely Rebecca’s life is encouraging and inspiring to us. She was a dedicated stepmother and a leader who organized women to help others, exemplifying great determination and dedication.

These monthly historical briefs are prepared by Amy Goldberger, Chair of the Archives Committee and Anne Mininberg, Archivist

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A Look at Our History: March 2013

Posted February 28, 2013

A Look at Our History: March 2013

Rabbis Jonah B. Wise (left) and David J. Seligson (right) led a second night Passover Seder in Central’s Pavilion space

On April 5, 1958, Rabbis Jonah B. Wise (left) and David J. Seligson (right) led a second night Passover Seder in Central’s Pavilion space. Matzos, Kiddush cup, embroidered cloth, candlesticks, and flowers on the dais combine to set the tone of Rabbi Seligson’s reading of the Haggadah, the story of the Jews escape from Egypt. A traditional Passover meal was enjoyed by all.

These monthly historical briefs are prepared by Amy Goldberger, Chair of the Archives Committee and Anne Mininberg, Archivist

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A Look at Our History: February 2013

Posted February 18, 2013

A Look at Our History: February 2013

Purim, 1987

At Central Synagogue, Purim has always been a phantasmagorical dress-up occasion for our clergy and congregants. While the formality of the holiday celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from their oppressors as told in the Book of Esther remains the focus, costumes run the gamut from historical characters to Big Bird.

In 1987 our rabbi wore a Big Bird costume.

These monthly historical briefs are prepared by Amy Goldberger, Chair of the Archives Committee and Anne Mininberg, Archivist

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A Look at Our History: January 2013

Posted January 4, 2013

A Look at Our History: January 2013

Winter, 1965

In the winter of 1965, Central Synagogue began excavation for the construction of its new Community House at 123 East 55th Street.

Fourteen Religious School students and their teacher participated in a special ceremony with Rabbis David Seligson and Lewis Bogage and the Religious School principal, Philip Kravis. They had all come from their School/Community House building at 35 East 62nd Street for the occasion.

Today the construction, completed in 1966, is the home to all of Central Synagogue’s education programs for ages 0-120.

These monthly historical briefs are prepared by Amy Goldberger, Chair of the Archives Committee and Anne Mininberg, Archivist

A Look at Our History: December 2012

Posted December 18, 2012

A Look at Our History: December 2012

An archival image from Chanukah 1991

Celebrating with light is popular in many religions during the dark month of December. During Chanukah, lighting the chanukiyah is our tradition, as represented by these joyful religious school students preparing to light the candles. The candles of the chanukiyah represent the miraculous eight days that the small vial of oil found in the Temple burned after the success led by the Maccabees.

These monthly historical briefs are prepared by Amy Goldberger, Chair of the Archives Committee and Anne Mininberg, Archivist

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A Look at Our History: November 2012

Posted November 7, 2012

A Look at Our History: November 2012

For many years Central Synagogue has joined with our neighbor, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, for Thanksgiving services. In the mid 1970s, while St. Peter’s was replacing their 1905 Gothic style church building, they worshipped at Central Synagogue.

The new building for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church was integrated into the design of Citicorp Center and opened in 1977. While they were our guests at Central Synagogue, their bulletin board was displayed on Central’s building. This photo is of St. Peter’s last announcement on their board at Central Synagogue, in which they profess "We love you madly - Shalom."

These monthly historical briefs are prepared by Amy Goldberger, Chair of the Archives Committee and Anne Mininberg, Archivist

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A Look at Our History: October 2012

Posted October 17, 2012

A Look at Our History: October 2012

The ark and its torahs are a focal point of every Jewish sanctuary. The ark interior of Central Synagogue has had several color schemes over the years.

In this photo from the 1950s our ark’s background curtains were primarily white and the torah mantels were white with multicolor embroidery. One torah had a darker color mantel, also with an embroidered motif.

The ark décors reflect the taste and times of our synagogue community and are not limited to any particular formula or duration.

These monthly historical briefs are prepared by Amy Goldberger, Chair of the Archives Committee and Anne Mininberg, Archivist

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Religious School Stationery, 1933

Posted September 11, 2012

Religious School Stationery, 1933

1933 Archival Image

Religious School students arriving each fall received a welcome letter. This 1933 Central Synagogue Religious School stationery letterhead epitomizes the warm and attentive atmosphere always present in our schools. Note the address on the stationery is that of our former Community House building.


These monthly historical briefs are prepared by Amy Goldberger, Chair of the Archives Committee and Anne Mininberg, Archivist

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