Fire destroys historic synagogue in Manhattan

17 May, 2017, 12:41 | Author: Warren Cooper
  • Built in 1850 as a Baptist church it was purchased by the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol congregation in 1885 for $45,000

Beth Hamedrash HaGadol was the oldest Eastern European Congregation founded in NY.

The man told FDNY marshals that he saw smoke billowing out of the historic Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue on Norfolk Street before spotting the trio sprinting away from the building, sources said Monday.

The fire that tore through a historic Lower East Side synagogue Sunday night was deliberately set, according to the NYPD's Chief of Detectives.

The building was vacant and there were no civilian injuries.

The Gothic-style building was built in 1850 as a Baptist Church and purchased in 1885 to become the first Eastern European congregation, which served Orthodox Russians, founded in New York City.

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The fire broke out around 7 p.m., and took about two hours to get under control, according to the New York Times.

The cause of the blaze is now under investigation. The congregation closed the synagogue in 2007 after determining it did not have the $3 million to $4 million needed for repairs.

The Gothic-style building, built in 1850 as a Baptist church, was closed in 2007 after synagogue leaders determined that they did not have the $3-$4 million needed to fix the building, which was declared a city landmark in 1967 and an endangered historic site in 2003.

"Everybody's in shock", Greenbaum, whose father-in-law was rabbi for many decades before him told the Lo-Down.

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