Washington Heights Congregation-“The Bridge Shul”
Original Building

Historical photo from site website

This Shul was founded in 1905, electing their first President, Isidor Kottle. The first building that housed the congregation had its groundbreaking 100 years ago, in 1910. The building (shown on the right), completed in 1915 was much beloved by its congregation (according to the official online history, at least). This building would be used continuosly by the congregation for the next 56 years.

For many years this was the only Orthodox congregation in this neighborhood of Washington Heights. It ran a Talmud Torah (a school teaching various Jewish subjects) that had a student body of over 200 soon after its founding in 1916. In fact they soon were forced to acquire a second building to house it.

After the Holocaust, the members of this congregation accepted and gave aid to the many refugees of the remnants of European Jewry fleeing from the lands that had been their homes for hundreds of years.

The Shul, both its congregation and its leaders (Rabbis and Presidents) have been ardent supporters of religious Zionism and the State of Israel from the start, as is proudly stated in their official history.

During the late 60’s and the 70’s, the congregation lost steam. Many congregants moved elsewhere, as the neighborhood’s safety and desirability diminished. The congregants were worried, to quote the quote on their website “Everyone worried that Washington Heights would go the way of the South Bronx”.


Historical photo from site website

In 1971 the Shul, under ‘dynamic new leadership’ moved to its present location on 179th street, pictured below.

Today, the shul is a self-described ‘young people’s shul’ and it is once again growing, albeit slowly.