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End of the Road for 16th Street?

Dovid Zaklikowski

Passersby looked on curiously as a procession of tallis-draped Torah scrolls was carried down 16th Street off Union Square in Manhattan. This was no joyous occasion, but more like a funeral march, following an eviction notice after a years-long court battle over property rights to the iconic 16th Street Shul. A sad end to a brave fight … or is it?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It was not a spectacle you see every day on the streets of Manhattan. Congregants of the 16th StreetSynagogue were marching down the street holding ten Sifrei Torah draped in talleisim. Another man followed with the shul’s menorah.

This was no happy procession, as the synagogue’s members were dismantling their 67-year-old shul following an eviction notice after a years-long court battle over rights to the property. Passersby looked on curiously as16th Streetoff5th AvenuenearUnion Squareturned into a veritable funeral march, members in tears and visibly shaken, not believing the outcome of the protracted real estate fight.

The shul was originally established as the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue, a homey location for midtown Manhattan’s frum Jews and those who wanted a traditional prayer service. “This was an intimate shul, a home for all different kind of Jews,” said Ellen Cherrick — a long-time member of the 120-member congregation and administrator of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at NYU Medical Center — as she watched workers dismantle bookcases that just the day before contained Gemaras and sets of Shulchan Aruch

Oscar Bueno, a non-observant Jew, was looking for a shul for Shabbos in the city. “I had a strong urge to attend synagogue,” he recalled. “I didn’t know where to go but somehow found the16th StreetSynagogue, where I felt totally welcomed and fulfilled.”

 

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