Greenpoint Shul – Brooklyn, New York - Atlas Obscura

Greenpoint Shul

The only remaining Jewish congregation in Greenpoint. 


Once home to five synagogues, Ahavas Israel is the only synagogue remaining in Greenpoint today.

Created out of a merger of three of the five synagogues formerly based in Greenpoint, it occupies two buildings, a converted 1871 former Congregationalist Church and a 1903 structure purposely built by the congregation.

One of the buildings, the 1903 structure, despite a simple exterior, is in good shape and quite beautiful on the inside. Among it’s stained glass windows and Art Nouveau light fixtures is a Bomelstein’s Jewlers clock, from the makers of the street clock found at 753 Manhattan Avenue.

Unfortunately the structure next door - 110 Noble St. - the converted 1871 former Congregationalist Church is in very bad shape on the inside. Now covered in fake stone shingling, and missing what was once a dome on its roof, the building is in such bad repair it will likely need to be torn down, despite the conservancy plaque on the outside,

Though the synagogue caters to a fairly conservative Orthodox congregation (men and women are seated separately) it has made efforts to open itself to non-religious and reform congregants. In the words of Greenpoint’s lone Rabbi Maurice Appelbaum

“There is an interesting balance here. We are the only shul [synagogue] in Greenpoint, and we are Orthodox. But our congregants have a broad religious spectrum, and we’re here to create a space that is comfortable for all Jews to come and actualize their individual Jewish journey. We are here to empower them along the way. You shouldn’t have to be boxed in to come here and enjoy services.”

Jews of German heritage were the original congregants, and the modern “Shul” holds regular sabbath and holiday services, after which a communal meal is served.

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July 25, 2010

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