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Why Brotherhood?

For more that 60 years, our synagogue has sought to meet the spiritual and cultural needs of our members in a welcoming, progressive community while working to make religious brotherhood a living reality.  Our beautiful Conservative traditions and our ideal of peace among all religions are more relevant today than ever.  We are also deeply committed to serving our community's founding principles.

Our founder, Rabbi Irving J. Block z”l, dreamed of a congregation committed to the sanctity of Jewish life – one that worshiped together in a traditional manner and that would work in innovative ways to improve the well-being of the greater New York City community.

In 1954 Rabbi Block’s dream came to fruition with the founding of the Brotherhood Synagogue (Beit Achim). For its first two decades, our congregation shared space in the Village Presbyterian Church on West 13th Street in Greenwich Village. At its formation, Rabbi Block and his colleague and good friend, the Rev. Dr. Jesse W. Stitt, established a relationship that was quickly regarded as a pioneering venture in ecumenism. The two congregations – Christian and Jewish – entered into a covenant of brotherhood – not only sharing space, but programming together in the arts and social action.

In 1974, Brotherhood’s ever growing congregation was fortunate to acquire and restore an historic Quaker Meeting House on beautiful and serene Gramercy Park. This Quaker Meeting House was originally built in 1859 by the Society of Friends. During its early years as a Meeting House, the building also functioned as a clandestine stop on the Underground Railroad as a safe haven for runaway slaves. The building resonates both with this history and with Rabbi Block’s founding vision.

Service and Inclusion

As our congregation grew, we continued to build on our founder's principles. In 1983, The Brotherhood Synagogue was the first Jewish congregation in New York City to open a homeless shelter. In 1996, our Hebrew School was extended to accommodate children with special needs. Our longstanding outreach to the non-Jewish community continues to be very active, including joint classes and celebrations both with our neighbor Calvary-St. George's Church and other downtown churches, as well as a variety of other interfaith partnerships.

Over the decades, we have continued to develop new programs to support our evolving community. Our building is now fully accessible and contains both multi-purpose and classroom space to host the myriad educational activities, social events and celebrations that continue our synagogue’s traditions.  As we enter our eighth decade as a thriving congregation and community, we look forward to going from strength to strength and generation to generation.



We invite you to visit with us and hope you will become a part of the next chapter in our evolving history.
Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784