Brooklyn Jews


Ethnic Community Analysis

The immigration for Jews to the United States occurred in three major waves. Each group was vastly different from the other, in economic, social and religious terms, as well as distinct times and places of origins. These differences influenced their experiences in the United States. Many of these groups started out in New York, while others began in other port cities and then found their way to New York. New York City has the second largest population of Jews in the world, only after Israel. New York has, for many years, been a safe haven for Jews from all over the world. Even now, New York City remains the main entry port and site of settlement for new Jewish immigrants to the United States. This includes Jews from Iran, Israel, and Russia. New York City is the capital of Jewry in America. New York City has played such an outstanding role in American Jewish history that it is often difficult to separate local New York Jewish history from the larger national picture.[1]

Three Main Waves of Jewish Immigration to New York City

First Wave – Sephardic Jews Up-Arrow

The first Jews to settle in America were Sephardic refugees from Brazil[2]. They came fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, which had just begun to spread into the Western Hemisphere. In 1654, twenty-three adults of Spanish-Portuguese origins came and settled in what was then the Dutch port of New Amsterdam, later to be knows as our very own New York City[3]. A year later, some more Jews from Holland came to the new world as well. The governor of the colony, Peter Stuyvesant, tried to deport these early Jewish settlers, but the Dutch West India Company (the effective owner of the colony) overruled his decision. Life for these early settlers remained difficult. Nine years later, however, the fortunes of Jews in America begun to change. In 1664, the British peacefully assumed control of the colony[4]. The quickly renamed it to New York and allowed the colony to be ethnically, racially and religiously diverse throughout the times they control it.

At first, Jews in America did not thrive. Their community was small and did not have much success. However, there were a few exceptions. Asser Levy, one of the community’s leaders, had real estate stretching to Albany by 1658. He also successfully petitioned for the right to serve in the New Netherland militia. With the advent of the British rule, more and more Jews began to achieve success, both financially and politically. In 1727, naturalization became possible for Jews in New York, and could achieve full citizenship by 1740[5].

The first synagogue in the city, She’arith Israel (“remnant of Israel”) was founded by the end of the 17th century.

She'arith Israel

This budding community was able to provide Jews throughout America with both Jewish leadership and Judaic resources. The community maintained ties with parent communities in London and the Caribbean and looked to those older establishments for any guidance that they needed[6].

In the early 1700’s, the majority of Jews became Ashkenazic due to heavy immigration from European communities. However, the Sephardic Jews maintained control on the customs and religious practices of the community. They led the community in slightly different styles than was typical in the Old World. The synagogue used to be a place that held great administrative power over the community. The synagogue in Spanish countries would tax members, fund projects, regulate publications and socially ostracize members as a form of punishment. In New York, however, the synagogue had none of those functions. Instead, a new concept of separation of church (or synagogue!) and state took its place. The Jewish community also sought to combine modern notions of aesthetics, order and manner of proceedings with traditional Judaism- perhaps the precursor to the Modern Orthodox movement today[7].

The Jewish community was quick to spread. By 1760, families had already settled in Long Island and Westchester County, and had trading posts as far as Newburgh- 70 miles north of New York City. They also migrated to other colonies, as well. They generally moved south, settling in places such as Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Georgia. In addition, many moved up north to Rhode Island, which was the only New England Colony that allowed a permanent Jewish community in the seventeenth century. The Jewish settlement there was built in Newport, and its synagogue, Touro Synagogue, still stands today[8].

Though the Jews of New York, as mentioned above, fared well under British rule, most of them desired independence. Many fled to the Philadelphia community when the British occupied New York during the war. Jews that were a pat of the Hessian mercenaries that the British hired maintained the community infrastructure during the occupation[9].

More recently, many more Sephardic Jews arriving from the Middle East settled in New York. These groups came following a breakdown in relationships with their respective governments, largely owing to the establishment of the State of Israel. In particular, the Syrian, Egyptian, and Lebanese Jews all created communities in Brooklyn. Iranian Jews also established a large community in Great Neck. The first of these groups to arrive were the Syrians, who immigrated starting from 1892. However, the distinction of the first Jew in Brooklyn remains to Asser Lev, who, as mentioned above, purchased land in Brooklyn in the mid-1600’s.

Second Wave – German Up-Arrow

The second period in American Jewish history was dominated by German Jewry. Their main reasons for leaving their homeland were the scarcity of land, rural poverty, and government restrictions on marriage, domicile and employment. German Jews had been in the United States before the early 1800’s, but it is after that time that they became the predominant Jewish cultural group. At this same time, America was expanding its own borders, so many German Jews became a part of the Midwestern movement. Coming to America in a period of rapid geographic expansion, the German Jews became part of the developing Midwest. Communities were established in Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and St. Paul.[10] Wherever they settled, they formed a congregation and bought land for a cemetery. In Brooklyn, the first Jewish congregation was Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Williamsburg. It began as an Orthodox synagogue and eventually become Reform. In 1921 it joined with Temple Israel in Manhattan to become Union Temple. The members of this congregation opened the first Jewish cemetery in Brooklyn, Union Fields in Cypress Hills in 1848. [11]

After the War of 1812, transpiration improvements and the introduction of the Erie Canal allowed more Jews from Germany and Central Europe to settle in New York. Yet these new arrivals clashed with the older elite group of Sephardic Jews who had live there for centuries. Eventually the New York City Kehilla (congregation) broke up in 1824. The first Ashkenazic synagogue was built at this time—B’nai Jeshurun.[12]

In 1868, the Hebrew Benevolent Society was established in Williamsburg; in 1909 the name was changed to the Brooklyn Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. This organization was extremely helpful to the thousands of Eastern European immigrants who arrived just after it began.[13]

The first German Jews to emigrate were mostly young men. They joined relatives and others who had come from the same communities back in Europe. The second group came after the failed German revolution in 1848 and these Jews older and more educated. They would go into peddling and such trades that did not require large amounts of startup monies. They eventually became successful, building larger businesses and becoming a part of the middle class. [14]

These immigrants fled Germany searching for freedom, and the associations they set up once they arrived shows their overall concern for Jewish circumstances. The Reform Movement also shaped the development of American Jewry.

The German Jews were a less religious group than the Sephardic Jews who lived in New York City. They were a product of the Reform Movement, which had originated in Germany, which had more liberal politics, and where many Jews felt comfortable assimilating with the general population. It rejected many Jewish practices and beliefs, changed the prayers to their native tongue of German, and over time, became very popular among German Jews.[15] The Jews who settled in New York brought this with them, and by 1880, more than 90 percent of American synagogues were Reform. Reform Jews also established associations such as the Educational Alliance on the Lower East Side of New York, the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith. By this time, the third wave of immigration was reaching a peak, that of Eastern European Jews. Between 1881 and 1914, two million Jews left Europe for the United States. Most of these Jews settled in the overcrowded Lower East Side, in the Tenth Ward, which became one of the most congested areas in the world[16]. At the same time, however, Jews were also moving to other areas, one of those being Brooklyn. The creation of new bridges and subways allowed for quick mass migration to the outer boroughs, and Jews settled into Williamsburg, Brownsville, New Lots, East New York, Rego Park and Coney Island.[17] The German Jewish population generally stayed in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and did not welcome their Eastern European brethren, whom they considered old fashioned and did not want to associate with. However, they were forced to realize that they would have to share the city with the new arrivals. They felt most threatened by their different way of life than anything else. The German Jews felt they would have to Americanize the Eastern Europeans, and make them become like themselves. They set out to create organizations to help these Jews, one of which was the Educational Alliance, which helped train newcomers for citizenship and jobs. At first, the new Jews resented the patronizing attitudes of the Alliance, but eventually both sides softened a bit and were able to cooperate and respond to the needs of the community. At the same time, the new Jews did not fall prey to assimilation as a general rule, and this is what led to the breakup of the New York City Kehilla, an umbrella confederation of Jewish organizations.

In general, during this time the largest percentage of New York City’s Jews lived in Manhattan, but the conditions and history of the Lower East Side were very similar to the conditions and society in the Brooklyn Jewish neighborhoods. Most Jews were very poor and lived in crowded slum areas in tenements. [18]

Third Wave – Eastern European Up-Arrow

The third wave of Jewish immigration (1880-1920) to the United States consisted of Jews that faced persecution and pogroms in Poland and Russia. The Jews were forced to live in the Pale of Settlement. The Jews of Eastern Europe lived in towns and urban villages called shtetls. Jewish towns included Warsaw, Odessa, Lodz and Vilna, which were later destroyed during the Holocaust. Jews in the Pale were limited to being merchants, shopkeepers and craftsmen.[19],[20]

Many Jews fleeing the Russian pogroms of 1881-1884 and 1903-1906 went to Western Europe and the United States. This wave of Russian Jewish immigrants to the United States was the largest. In 1880, approximately 60,000 Jews lived in New York City. By 1914, the Jewish population of the city exceeded 1.5 million. While the German immigrants of the second wave were young men, The Russian immigrants of the third wave were whole families seeking haven from the pogroms. Many of the Russian immigrants were the Hassidic Jews who remained strictly observant.[21]

The Russian Jewish immigrants settled primarily in urban cities. The large influx of Jews expanded Jewish communal life especially in New York City’s Lower East Side. In 1884, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid society was established to help incoming Eastern European Jews. Many of the Yiddish-speaking immigrants worked in the clothing industry in establishments owned by German Jews. Others peddled or maintained their own small retail establishments.

They expressed their Yiddish culture through journalism, fiction, poetry and theater. Second Avenue in Manhattan developed as the largest Yiddish theater district in the world. Popular Yiddish newspapers included “Der Tog” and “Forward.”[22]

They were part of the working class, which separated them from the middle class German Jews that already were settled in. The Russian Jewish communities were tightknit and insular, resembling the way they lived in the Pale. In this, they also differed from their German counterparts who were more assimilated. German Reform Jews established the Jewish theological Seminary (JTS) in New York City in 1887. It was then re-established in 1902 by the emerging Conservative Jewish movement. The Jewish Modern Orthodox movement in New York City was spearheaded by Yeshiva University.[23]

New York City was the American capital of Judaism. The American Jewish Committee was founded in New York City in 1906 to represent of the interests of German Jews. Its founders, including Louis Marshall and Oscar Straus, also helped create the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (“The Joint”), which helped displaced Jews that fought during World War I.

Anti-semitism started to grow in New York during the 1870s at the same time Jim Crow Laws were passed. Police charges were inflated to the point that they claimed that 50% of New York crime was committed by Jews. In 1908, Judah L. Magnes headed the Kehillah (“community”) as a response. The Kehillah included a “Bureau of Social Morals,” among its many agencies. In 1913, the Anti-Defamation League was organized in New York in response to the lynching of Leo Frank in Georgia.[24]

It was during the interwar years that Brooklyn really saw a large jump in Jewish population. The Orthodox community had never been large in New York City, but in the 1920s and 1930s the more Orthodox Jews left the Lower East Side for areas such as Williamsburg, and Borough Park, among other areas in the outer boroughs.[25]

This growth of the Orthodox sector allowed for more growth of Jewish life. Synagogues grew larger and more mikvahs (ritual baths) were built, and became more sanitary and beautiful.

In 1903, the Williamsburg Bridge opened, which made travel from Manhattan to Williamsburg much easier. Jews eager to leave the crowded and intolerable conditions of the Lower East Side moved to the now easily accessible Williamsburg. Borough Park also gained a substantial Orthodox Jewish population, and it was during this time that the Young Men’s Hebrew Association of Brooklyn opened there.

In addition to bridges, the subways lines helped shape Jewish migration to Brooklyn. New lines allowed easier travel to Brooklyn. It was at this time and for the next few decades that Jews moved in in large groups to the outer boroughs, including Brooklyn. The neighborhoods that welcomed these Jews were Brownsville, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Flatbush, Borough Park, and Brighton Beach. By 1923, Brooklyn had the largest Jewish population of any borough in New York City.

Wartime Immigration

Post-WWI Up-Arrow

As stated previously, for the simple reasons of the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge and the expansion of the subway system Jews started moving from the Lower East Side to Brooklyn. Notable institutions opened the same year that America entered the war. In 1917, the Sea Gate Sisterhood and the Talmud Torah of Coney Island Avenue are established and fully operational[26]. The communities in Brooklyn at this point are all from Eastern Europe and carry on the customs from those countries. In 1918, this changes with Syrian Jews, specifically from Aleppo moving into the borough. They would lay down the roots that would allow for the modern day Syrian Jewish community to settle in Brooklyn. They moved to Bensonhurst, and settled there, opening up the landmarked Magen David Congregation in 1921.

In 1919, the Women’s Hospital is opened in Brownsville. This hospital was formed and organized by the Jewish women in the community. This hospital is still open and functioning today. By 1920, almost 30 percent of New York City is Jewish, and by 1923 Brooklyn has the largest population of Jews than all the other boroughs. This is a dramatic change from the 19th century, where the Jewish population on the Lower East Side was so large that the neighborhood was dubbed “Little Jerusalem.” The population change was so great that Emanuel Celler, a Jew from Brownsville, was elected as Representative to Congress. He served in Congress on behalf of the Brownsville community for almost 50 years. He was a second generation American, with all four of his grandparents emigrating from Germany at the end of the 19th century. He gave his first important speech to Congress in 1924 against the Johnson Immigration Act of 1924. This Act was to further restrict immigration to 3%, roughly 356,000 immigrants, of nationalities that were counted in the census of 1910. If the Act were to be passed, that number would be cut to 2%, limiting immigrants from countries such as Italy, Russia, and Poland. This of course would affect Jewish immigration, practically eliminating all immigrants other than those coming from Western Europe. The Act was passed and signed into law, but Celler had found his cause. He spent a majority of his time in Congress fighting immigration laws and national origin as a reason for immigration restriction. At no point was this more crucial than with the outbreak of World War II, with thousands of Jews being denied entry to the United States while trying to flee from Nazi Germany and the outbreak of war[27]

The rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, specifically in Germany was very alarming for the Jewish community in the United States. Many families still had relatives in Europe and letters from them raised alarm in the New York area. Even before the Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935, Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 scared Jews in America. In 1933, the largest anti-Hitler rally was held in the 13th Regiment Armory, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn[28].

Six years later, an anti-Nazi “Stop Hitler” march drew half a million protestors. But by 1939, it was too late. World War II had started, and along with it the Holocaust, a genocide so evil and horrible that it would change the face of the world, and the face of world Jewry, with the murder of six million Jews.

Immigration, as discussed before, was severely limited for Jews from Eastern Europe, but Jews in Western Europe were not as restricted, and a small but significant community came from Germany to settle in New York. They chose Manhattan over Brooklyn, and settled in Washington Heights. They are notable group because of their accomplishments in the Arts and Sciences. Henry Kissinger, who served as Secretary of State, and Ruth Westheimer, the famous therapist, both immigrated as children at this time[29]

World War II Up-Arrow

Post War World II, Jews around the world were shocked at the decimation of European Jewry that occurred during the War. Survivors of the Holocaust had no home to return to, and turned to America as a place to relocate and forget the atrocities that occurred in Europe. Thousands of Satmar Hassidic survivors immigrated to the States and moved to Williamsburg under their leader Rabbi Yoel Teitalbaum. Other survivors settled in Brighton Beach, forming one of the largest survivor communities in the country[30]

Besides for the influx of survivors from Europe, Brooklyn’s Jewish community changed in other ways. Pre-WWII, most Jews could be found in New York City, with communities spread throughout the country and the Tri-State area. Post WWII changed that. Jews began to leave to the suburbs and settle around the City in Rockland County and Nassau County on Long Island. Other Jews left New York altogether, and formed communities all over the country in major cities like Detroit and Chicago. This change affected Jewish life and the insular communities that were formed in the City broke and Jews began to assimilate and marry outside of the faith. By 1990, the rate of mixed marriages was a little over 42% nationally but was significantly lower in many of New York’s more Jewish neighborhoods[31]

Another change that occurred in post-War Brooklyn was the addition of many traditional and religious Jews. As mentioned before, the ultraorthodox Hassidic Samar community settled in Williamsburg and is still living there. The Lubavitch Chassidim, commonly known as “Chabad” formed a strong community in Crown Heights under their Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Shneerson. Borough Park, which had a Jewish presence since World War I was transformed by the Belzer Chassidim who came and settled there. They made Borough Park one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in all of North America[32]. It is so heavily populated by Chassidim that it is not strange to see storefront signs written in Yiddish with English translations in small font under that!

Political activism by the Jewish community has always been important, as it has been for every ethnic minority in New York City. But post-WWII the Jewish community felt very strongly about taking charge of their role in government. The experience in Europe traumatized the community, and they had to ensure that nothing like that would ever happen again, especially not in their beloved America, not on their watch. In 1962, Abe Stark becomes the first Jewish Borough President of Brooklyn. The story of how he came to the position is a very humorous one. He has a sign posted in Ebbets Field that said “Hit Sign. Free Suit” for his clothing store. The sign gained him so much popularity that he became involved in City politics and finally became Borough President in 1962[33]. In 1973, New York’s first Jewish Mayor was elected. Some say that the title goes to Mayor La Guardia, whose mother was Jewish, but Mayor Abe Beame was the first practicing Jewish Mayor. Son of two Polish Jews, he was an immigrant himself, born in London in 1906. Like most Jewish immigrants of that time, he grew up on the Lower East Side. He was Comptroller for two terms and then decided to run for Mayor in 1965 but lost out to the Republican candidate at the time. He ran again in 1973 and won, and ran again in 1977, but lost to Edward Koch, the cities second, or third, Jewish Mayor[34].

More recently, in 1998 Chuck Schumer was elected as Senator of New York and has been in office ever since. In 1993 Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated and appointed as a Justice to the Supreme Court. She is the first Jewish Woman to have this position. She is also the second woman to hold this position. She is from Brooklyn, and grew up in East Midwood[35].

In the 1970’s and 1980s, many of New York’s Jews moved to the suburbs, along with many other middle-class Americans. The city total was about 100,00 Jews leaving for the suburbs. However, at the same time Jews from the Soviet Union were immigrating. Approximately 50,00 Jews came to New York from that area during those same years. About the same amount came from Middle Eastern countries like Iraq, Syria and Iran. Many Iranian Jews fled the country when the Shah was overthrown and the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. Another group of Jews immigrating at this time were Israelis, many of whom came for the educational opportunities in the United States. All of the above groups had settlements in Brooklyn. [36]

Jewish Brooklyn Neighborhoods

It is hard to map exactly where Jews have been since they began to move into Brooklyn. In some neighborhoods, they stayed for a long time and remain there today, while in other neighborhoods, immigration patterns of other ethnic groups and neighborhood changes have led Jews to move out and leave the area completely.

Bensonhurst Up-Arrow

Jews first began to move into Bensonhurst in the early 1900s. These were mainly Syrian and Egyptian Jews. They shared the area with a large Italian population. These Sepharic Jews brought along their culture, and spoke mostly in Arabic.

This Jewish population lived in the area until the late 1950s and 1960s, when many people moved closer to Ocean Parkway and Gravesend. During this half century, many Jewish institutions were built, including Magen David Congregation, which was built in 1921, and whose congragants were mainly from the Syrian city of Allepo. It also had a school attached to it, where parents would send their children. The building eventually became landmarked. Damascus Jews opened their own synagogue, Ahi Ezer Synagogue, on 71st Street and in 1933 brought Rabbi Jacob Kassin to be the Chief Rabbi. At first, many of the children attended public schools, bu as more after school Jewish programs and eventually schools, opened, children were more likely to get a Jewish education. Both Ahi Ezer Yeshiva and Magen David Yeshiva opened up nearby, so eventually all of the children were enrolled in Jewish schools. By the 60’s however, most of the Jews had moved out and the area remained Italian until the 1980s when many Asians began to move in. The area has become very multiethnic today.[37]

Magen David Congregation in Bensonhurst


Brighton Beach Up-Arrow

Brighton Beach was developed by William Engemann in the late 1870’s, who built a seaside resort specifically catered no non-Jews, whom he considered vulgar and working class. However, many Jews moved into the area when boardinghouses were built nearby. Engemann also built an elevated train line, which made the area more accessible, which brought in even more Jews. In the early 1900s, the beachside neighborhood became a thriving Jewish community, with a Yiddish theater, restaurants, a dance hall and horse racing track made the area a great entertainment district. The residents there served t summer visitors who would come to the beach to escape their heated apartments in the city. The area had no real synagogue, and until 1923 the residents would pray in a run-down lot. Money was raised for a synagogue, and the Hebrew Alliance of Brighton by the Sea Inc. was created.

In 1920, many new immigrants and other Jews from overcrowded parts of Brooklyn joined the community. This growth brought with it new and modern buildings. These attracted those who could afford the resort style lifestyle if offered. However, the prosperity could not last, for shortly after the construction, the Great Depression hit and everyone was thrown into poverty. At the same time, many Jews were escaping persecution in Nazi Germany, and they came to Brighton Beach hoping for a better life. During this time, the Jews there were involved in radical activism. The area hosted the headquarters of the Communist, Socialist, Mizrachi, Labor, Zionist, Democratic and Republican parties. Many Jews became involved in Communism at the time. Worker’s unions were active and housewives’ unions like The Emma Lazarus Council would organize strikes to protest high food process. The different groups of course did have their differences, with some disagreeing with the choice to support Communism when Jews were being persecuted in the Soviet Union.

After World War II, many people began to move out. With nearly half of the young men killed in battle, and the area unbearably overcrowded, many decided to leave. Soon there were no American-born Jews in the area. That was not a problem as there were many immigrants eager to move in, Holocaust survivors from Poland and nearby countries. The first to come were those with relatives in the US. The New York Association for New Americans helped those survivors settle in, and within a few years, Brighton Beach had one of the largest communities of survivors.

Sadly, the bad economy in the 1970’s led to many young people fleeing, leaving behnd a very old and poor community. Fortunately, the Soviet Union’s change in immigration policy allowed many nwcomers to arrive and sac ethe area from decline. 40,000 Soviet Jews arrived, and Brighton Beach became the largest Russian community in the city, and received the nickname “Little Odessa.” The neighborhood picked up again.

The Soviet newcomers clashed with the older group of Jews in terms of religion. Having been restricted in The Soviet Union from practicing Judaism, most did not know much about the religion or its practices, yet they had also been discriminated against for being Jewish. The older Eastern European Jews were much more connected, and the two groups made people question what being Jewish meant. While many Soviet Jews had no interest in becoming religious, other did, and eventually there were quite a few of them who became part of synagogues and learned about Jewish culture and practices. The community was a place of healing for many Jews who had suffered, and the close sense of community was felt all around.

The flow of immigration slowed by the 1990s, but the area remained Russian, of not completely Jewish. The newest immigrants were more educated and cultured, and the area felt more modern. The area still has an Eastern European feel to it, though it has become more diverse in recent years. Many of the Jews there today are unaffiliated with the religion. It is mainly Russian now as the other immigrants have moved out by now. A new Asian wave of immigration is on its way in to the community now.[38]

Coney Island Up-Arrow

Coney Island has long been known as an area of fun, entertainment, and the beach. The Jews of the area had much to do with its development. The area itself first saw growth with the introduction of public transportation. The Coney Island Causeway was build in 1823 by the Coney Island Road and Bridge Company, which linked Coney Island to the rest of Brooklyn. Later on, roads were built, like Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue, which also helped bring people over to Coney Island. In the 1920, the subway was built. These changes made Coney Island more accessible, and also allowed more people to find permanent homes there. These changed brought many Jews with them. Many Jews had originally settled in the Lower East Side, but now they were spreading out. Jewish, Irish and Italian immigrants began to move in in the 1910’s, and they settled into groups based on their ethnic backgrounds. Many Jews there were shop owners, and there were signs of a Jewish presence in the neighborhood which could be seen in the synagogues, Judaica store sand funeral homes in the area. In fact, Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand—which still stands today and runs a hot dog eating contest every summer—was started by a Jew: Nathan Handwerker, an immigrant from Poland.

Jews had a part in the entertainment world of Coney Island. Jewish singers sang on its stages, and Samuel Gumpertz managed Dreamland, a circus and freak show that recruited people from all over the world. Many of the performers in those shows were Jews as well. They also had a part in the famous carousel horses on the merry-go-rounds all over Coney Island. Some immigrants painted the horses, while some entrepreneurs opened manufacturing companies that made the carousel horses themselves.

Luna Park, 1904, V1972.1.773; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Sadly, after many years, the entire area of Coney Island declined. Luna Park and Dreamland had burned to the ground, and in 1964, Steeplechase Park closed. Attempts to rebuild the area failed, and eventually low-income housing developments were demolished and replaced with NYC Housing Authority towers. Jews and business owners moved to nicer neighborhoods in the 1960’s and today the area has virtually no Jews. However, the entertainment scene has picked up a bit, considering the opening of MCU Park (formerly Keyspan Park), home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, in 2001, the introduction of the new Luna Park in 2010, and other attractions.[39]

Canarsie Up-Arrow

Jews began to move to Canarsie before World War II. Holocaust refugees moved to the area in the 1950’s and the community grew significantly. By the middle of the twentieth century, the community had “eight Orthodox synagogues, two non-Orthodox temples, several yeshivas and at least five… shtiebles,” or less formal synagogues.[40]

Today, the community is much smaller than what it used to be. A key persona in Canarsie jewry, Rabbi Jungreis, and his father and brother all were heads of synagogues and a yeshiva, Ateres Yisroel. The synagogues are now closed and the yeshiva needs to bring in students from other locations to keep it running.[41]

The largest shtieble (a type of synagogue) in Canarsie that belonged to Rabbi Wolf Gruber once held services on Shabbat morning with 200 attendants. Currently, about 35 attend each week ever since the head rabbi of the shul died. Most synagogues and shteibles are closed today, some of which had closed at recently as five years ago. [42]

‘“[The Jewish community] was up and coming in the 1960s and started to go down in the ‘80s,” Rabbi Jungreis said.” It took 20 years to build it and 20 years to lose it.”’ [43]

Kosher City was the first “large-scale” supermarket in the United States and it was located in Canarsie. According to Rabbi Rakowitz, the head of the dwindling Sephardic Jewish Center, Jews would socialize at Kosher City. Today, Kosher City has been closed down along with all of the other kosher restaurant establishments in Canarsie.[44]

Rabbi Rakowitz believes that many Jews sold their houses when the real estate became more valuable in 1970’s and 1980’s and moved out. The Jews that stayed were mostly older Jews that passed on as the years did. Young couples did not elect to live in Canarsie as its popularity dropped. It is often compared to the decline that occurred in the once bustling Jewish community of Brownsville.[45]

According to “Rabbi Avrohom Hecht, the director of the Jewish Community Council of Canarsie,” the Jewish population of Canarsie has stabilized. He believes that the record low attendance in local synagogues is due to “homebound” community members that cannot attend. This is has given the impression of a low Jewish population.[46]

“Remsen Heights Jewish Center on Avenue K (above) was one of the oldest orthodox synagogues in the community but had to close, along with two others — R. Morris Kevelson Synagogue and Canarsie Jewish Center — within recent years.”[47]

Brownsville Up-Arrow

From 1910 until 1950, Brownsville, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, was home to one of the largest Jewish communities in American in its time. It had over 70 Orthodox synagogues, Yiddish theaters, and about 300,000 Jews, which was 90 percent of the neighborhoods total population. Most of the Jews living in Brownsville had left either the Pale Settlement or the Lower East Side of Manhattan.[48] The Jewish immigrants living in Brownsville, Brooklyn were looking for “lower rents and a more healthful country environment” when they moved from the Lower East Side in the late 19th century. Brownsville, before it became a massive Jewish community was a rural town until the rise in the area’s real estate. Included in the neighborhood’s development were garment factories that attracted many workers. By 1890, there were approximately 4,000 Jews living in Brownsville.[49] The Jewish population spiked to 250,000 in the following 20 to 30 years. The increase in population was largely assisted by the opening of the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn, the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903 and the Manhattan Bridge in 1909.[50] The most prominent synagogue in Brownsville was Oheb Shalom, which was founded in 1889. It was one of dozens of synagogues in the neighborhood later in its development. The Chaim Berlin Yeshiva originally was located there. Charitable institutions included Beth El Hospital. Most teachers in local public schools were Jewish and the first teacher’s union was formed in 1916.[51] According to author Carole Bell Ford, Brownsville’s Jewish population contained a wide spectrum of Jewish political, cultural and religious views. It was mainly a secular Jewish neighborhood. Nevertheless because of the quantity of Jews in the area, a Jewish identity was maintained with traditions and languages.[52] The Jews of Brownsville were relatively poor compared with the rest of the city. Alfred Kazin describes his perception of the neighborhood: “New York’s rawest remotest, cheapest ghetto, enclosed on one side by the Canarsie flats and on the other by the hallowed middle class districts that showed the way to New York."[53] The Hebrew Educational Society (HES) was founded in 1899 by Manhattan and wealthier Brooklyn Jews to educate and Americanize the poorer Jews of the city. The educational society aimed at teaching English, citizenship and American manners. HES donated several thousand books to the Brownsville community in 1905, which directly led to the opening of Brownsville’s first public library.[54] Brownsville’s Jewish population began to decrease in the 1930’s. In the 1960’s African Americans began to populate the area, which further led to the decline in the Jewish population.[55] Today, Brownsville is still a busy area although it has a different ethnic make-up. Jewish along with Israeli immigrants own many businesses in the garment industry. “Korean, East Indian and African American merchants” populate the area as well. The neighborhood is subject to poverty, crime, violence, and drug-addictions.[56]

Borough Park Up-Arrow

Borough Park is located in the southwest part of Brooklyn and is almost entirely Jewish today. It’s inhabitants are mostly Hassidic Orthodox Jews. The area first began to have a Jewish presence in the early 1900s, when it was known as Blythebourne. The first synagogue was built there in 1904, and soon after, many of the newly arrived Russian immigrants moved from the crowded Lower East Side. After World War I, trains in the area were elevated, allowing for more efficient transportation, and new apartment buildings were built to accommodate the growing population. Even more Jews began to move in at this time. Bltyhebourne became a part of the larger Borough Park in the mid-1920’s, along with the small nearby neighborhood of Mapleton. By 1930 about half of the neighborhood was Jewish, mainly Jews who had moved from the Lower East Side and Williamsburg. Even more Jews began to arrive from Eastern European countries, especially Hassidic Jews from Poland, of the Bobov sect. This large jump in population led many non-Jews, especially Italians and Hispanics, to leave the neighborhood for nearby areas. In the 1950s, both the 1956 uprising in Hungary and the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens expressway in 1957 led to many more Hassidim moving to Borough Park. The construction of the expressway displaced many Jews in Crown Heights and Williamsburg, and they moved to Borough Park. Today, Borough Park is almost entirely Jewish, and mostly Hassidic. Some of the major sects represented there are Bobov, Satmar, Munkatcz, Ger, and Belz. They all have large synagogues and schools and many congregants. There is also a Modern Orthodox community there, which, while significantly smaller than the Hassidic one, is still thriving. The birth rate in Borough Park is extremely high, and the housing is very crowded. Many families live in three- or four- family housed, and the average family has five or more children. The neighborhood is flourishing, and it has a very friendly feel to it, with family-owned shops lining the streets and young children running about.[57]

Flatbush / Midwood Up-Arrow

Flatbush, or the zipcode area 11226, was first settled as the Dutch colony of Midwout in 1651. Flatbush is most closely bordered by Kensington and Midwood[58]. As with the rest of Brooklyn, Flatbush began to be settled in the early 20th century due to advancements in transportation that made it possible to commute across town for work. One of the first Orthodox Jewish institutions in the area (and a location covered on our walking tour) is Yeshiva (or Jewish education institution) Chaim Berlin. It was established in 1904. Another world-famous yeshiva is the Mirrer Yeshiva, brought to Brooklyn in 1950. Mirrer Yeshiva was originally created in Belarus. Through an amazing turn of events, the yeshiva moved to Shanghai before WWII, and was then brought to Brooklyn. Mirrer Yeshiva Many groups of Jews had roots here in the early 20th century, among them Haredi and Reform. The Reform community here built their first religious school and synagogue in 1908 and 1914, respectively[59]. Post World war II, many Jews began to leave Flatbush and Midwood for more suburban areas. However, the area's Jewish community has begun to undergo a revival in the last 15 to twenty years. Flatbush and Midwood have developed many community organizations and groups throughout the years. Some of the most famous include Hatzalah of Flatbush and the Flatbush Shomrim, which are both volunteer groups. Hatzalah is a community-based ambulatory service, and the Shomrim are a community patrol and safety unit.

Kensington Up-Arrow

Kensington is the area in between Coney Island and McDonald Avenues, from Caton Ave. until 18th street. It is sandwiched between the heavily Jewish Communities of Borough Park, Flatbush, and Midwood. Jews first arrived here in the early 19th century, as many Jews began to move away form the Lower East side into Brooklyn. The Flatbush Jewish Center (pictured below) was the center of the community for many years.[60] Within it, one was able to find a Jewish Day School, a Hebrew school that supplemented public school education, and many other Jewish groups and organizations. The day school, named The Bialik School, was one of the first Jewish schools to combine rigorous Jewish studies alongside a secular orientation.[61] Flatbush Jewish Center This community center is still active today. It serves both members of the older generation and young families. Alongside it have sprung up many other Jewish institutions, as the community has grown much during since the early post-war years. The community has also changed, with the community now catering to many different types of ethnicities. The area of concentrations of Jews within the community has, and continues to, shift around. One notable fact is that the area contains the oldest living Jew - Eveyln Kozak - at 113 years old! IMAGE

Crown Heights Up-Arrow

The Jewish presence in Crown Heights is brought about by the large group of Lubavitch Hassidim who call the area their home and headquarters of their sect. Jews first arrived in Crown Heights in the early 1900s. By the mid-1940s, Crown Heights had attracted even more Jews, mainly Lubavitch Jews from the Soviet Union. Walkup apartments were built to accommodate the Sabbath-observing Jews. However, after World War II, many people began to move out of the area, and it was not until the 60s and 70s that the neighborhood began to fill up again, this time with many Caribbean immigrants. The Jewish presence in Crown Heights was noticed during the Crown Heights riot of 1991, when a Guyanese child was killed by a car driven by a Lubavitch Hasid. Riots followed, and a Lubavitch student was killed. This created a bad image of the neighborhood for a time. Today, though the neighborhood is thriving as a Jewish neighborhood, with synagogues, schools and businesses.[62]

Williamsburg Up-Arrow

Williamsburg is an interesting neighborhood today, having a revival and attracting a population of young, artsy people who want to move to the city. But its very conception and history is intriguing. Mostly rural until 1802, it began to grow in population until in 1852 it was so large that it was chartered as a city of its own. This of course didn’t happen, and in 1855 it was annexed as a part of Brooklyn. The construction of the Williamsburg Bridge displaced many people in the Lower East Side who decided to move across the river. German Jews were the first to settle in Williamsburg, but were soon joined by European Jews and a small community of Sephardic Jews. With this influx of new, poor residents, the rich German Jews moved out to neighboring areas like Greenpoint and Bedford-Stuyvesant and the streets surrounding Prospect Park. Williamsburg Bridge Williamsburg, deserted by the Reform German Jews, was left to the newly immigrated European Jews. They formed new congregations and fashioned a certain type of Orthodoxy, “American Orthodoxy”. They were educationally progressive, and Zionistic. In the 1930s, with the Satmar Hassidim moving in, this “American Orthodoxy” was pushed out, replaced by the ultra-Orthodox mindset of the Satmar. Yiddish was the language of the streets and the distinct dress code of Hassidim was the accepted garb of the community. Other ethnic minorities moved in and out of the neighborhood left their mark, but none have stayed as long as the Jews and have had such an impact. There were waves of Italian, Polish and Latino immigrants through the community at different points. The Latino community has settled in Williamsburg and is a permanent staple of the area. There has been tension between them and the Jewish community in the past, but now they work together to deal with important social and economic issues. The United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, known as the UJO deals with the Latino community in order to help both communities. They try to create health care centers and maintain food stamps programs.[63]

Greenpoint Up-Arrow

Greenpoint is another neighborhood that is experiencing a current revival. Called “Little Poland” because of the influx of immigrants who came from Poland in 1900. It is right next to Williamsburg on the Southwest side, and is bordered by Long Island City on the North, and by the East River on the West, which is a little confusing! Like most of Brooklyn, it was originally farmland, divided into small homesteads for families to cultivate. This changed in the mid 19th century with the openings of factories on the River. There were rope factories and lumber yards, and the water was used for fishing and other industrial uses. Jews came to Greenpoint at the turn of the 20th Century. The community there originally supported five congregations, or shuls, but there is only one that is still around and functioning. Congregation Ahavas Israel is around 120 years old. It has daily prayers and prayers on Sabbath which are followed by communal meals. It is actually a congregation that is the result of a merger of three of the five shuls that were originally in the community, Temple Beth El of Greenpoint, Ahavas Israel and Hebrew Educational Alliance of Greenpoint. Ahavas Israel, the remaining congregation, was established in 1892 by German Jewish immigrants who came to settle in Brooklyn. They laid the foundation of the shul that they are still located in in 1903. It is now being led under Rabbi Maurice Applebaum. The shul is home to the old-timers of the community, and the new residents of the up and coming neighborhood. Greenpoint Shul An interesting point to note; neither in the past or the current Greenpoint has their been an overflow of Hassidim from Williamsburg. The ultra-Orthodox have never really moved into the neighborhood, and have stayed in the boundary lines of Williamsburg. This left the community open to be a little more open and less self-contained.[64]

Contemporary Data and Analysis

Population Analysis Up-Arrow

By Tzivia Kleinbart There are about 1.1 million Jews living in New York City. This number includes four Jewish denominations: Orthodox Judaism, which is the largest group in NYC by far, Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism which is the smallest group and has the least number of adherents, and Conservative Judaism. The term “adherent” refers to members of congregations, their children and others who regularly attend services. The following chart shows the number of people in Jewish households in 1991, 2002, and 2011. It includes the five boroughs of New York City, as wells Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties, which also have a high Jewish population. Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 1.06.13 AM Brooklyn Brooklyn, or Kings County, is the county with the largest Jewish population. It is also the county that has experienced the greatest growth in Jewish population since 2002. Most of this growth is attributable to increases in Borough Park and Williamsburg. As you can see from the following map, most areas in Brooklyn have a large Jewish population. Brooklyn Jews Map While Brooklyn contains by far the largest proportion of Orthodox-identified respondents (41%) of any of the eight counties and the smallest percentages of Conservative- and Reform-identified respondents (9% and 11%, respectively), it also contains large proportions of people who identify as nondenominational or “just Jewish” (16%) or secular or no religion (24%). Brooklyn's Jews make up a huge percentage of the borough (22% of all households), and Brooklyn is the most populous of the five boroughs of NYC. Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 11.31.58 PM The areas in Brooklyn with the highest percentage of Jews are the Borough Park, which boasts a staggering 78% of the population as Jewish, and the Flatbush/Midwood/Kensington area, in which half of the residents are Jews. Other areas are not far behind, such as Coney Island and the nearby areas on the Southern edge of Brooklyn, as well as Williamsburg. Even taking in the sheer size of Brooklyn, and its tremendous population, the Jewish population is still quite large, and growing. In fact, the growth of the Orthodox community had finally changed the trend of New York Jews from decline to rapid growth. The number of Jews in the city has reached 1.1 million, in large part due the growth of Hassidic groups that reside in Borough Park and Williamsburg.[65] At Maimonides Medical Center, in Borough Park, there were 7,968 births in 2011.[66] The hospital mainly serves the nearby community. This explosive birth rate keeps the Jewish population growing.

Issues in the Community Up-Arrow

The main problem that exists within Brooklyn Jewish communities is poverty. In Ultra Orthodox Hasidic areas, the poverty rate is as high as 43 percent.[65] This is because of the explosive population growth, as well as the lack of higher education in those communities. Brooklyn has the largest percentage of households with incomes below $50,000, which is even worse considering how large the households are. 38% of households within Brooklyn are considered poor, which is double that of the overall poverty rate of 19% in New York City and the surrounding areas. The amount of households who report that cannot make ends meet has gone up since 2002, and is not at 55%. Even employment is lower in Brooklyn Jewish communities than in the other boroughs. [67] “Brooklyn is the capital of Jewish poverty in America,” said Willie Rapfogel, CEO of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which found that one in four Brooklyn Jews are poor. “There are significant amounts of poor Jewish children.”[68] There are many charities within communities dedicated to helping those Jews in need. Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.53.30 AM Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 11.53.55 AM The other problem within Brooklyn is the rate of assimilation. Although in general, Jews in New York City as a whole are growing due to high birth rates, in other forms of Judaism, many are leaving the faith completely. Since most studies are based on those who identify as Jewish, if those people assimilate and no longer identify as Jewish, the overall number for those groups declines. In general, this refers to the Reform and Conservative movements, which lost about 40,000 members each between 2002 and 2011. Basis Jewish practices, such as the Passover Seder are no longer being observed among those Jews. Many of them no longer claim any religion anymore.[65] At the same time, there are those who fall under the category of Jewish while being completely secular. It is hard to determine if these people are Jews, since they identify as part of a Jewish nation, but have no part in the religion. In any case, among the predominant group of Jews in Brooklyn, the Orthodox Jews, the idea of assimilation is a problem, and there are various groups and organizations in place that help Jews who have left Judaism. That being said, the intermarriage rate within Brooklyn (14%) is still lover than the eight-county rate of 22%. [67]

Job and Income Analysis Up-Arrow

By Saul Betesh The incomes of Jewish households vary in different counties throughout New York City. Here are charts that display the average incomes of Jewish households in New York City and specifically each county in 2011. The Jews of Brooklyn, on average, are less wealthy than the overall Jewish population of New York City. Brooklyn has the highest percentage of Jewish households with less than $50,000 annual income, while it has the lowest percentage of Jewish households with more than $150,000 annual income. The following charts display the employment status of the Jew of New York City in 2002 and 2011. *The unemployed statistic includes those in the labor force along with retired and disabled people. There isn’t a great difference in the surveys of each year, except for a decrease in full-time employment and an increase in part-time employments and students. While currently only 3% are unemployed*, around 61% are employed. annual income 2 annual income employment 1 employment 2 In 2011, throughout the population of Brooklyn Jewry, the employment rate of men is 5% higher than women. Throughout the population of Brooklyn Jewry, 55% “cannot make ends meet or are just managing,” 32% “have enough” while 12% “have extra or are wealthy.” 38% of Brooklyn Jews are within 150% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. 13% are between 150% and @50% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. 49% are above poverty or have an unknown poverty status. 30,000 of Jewish households in Brooklyn require assistance for a household member’s serious or chronic illness. 26,100 need assistance with providing for food and housing. 30,800 need help finding a job or choosing an occupation. 27,300 need services for an adult with a disability. 9,400 need homecare services for an older adult in the household. 13,800 households need financial help for a child with a physical, developmental, or learning disability, or other special needs. In the Coney Island/ Brighton Beach/ Sheepshead Bay area, out of a total of 31,900 Jewish households, 72% earn an annual income of under $50,000. 17% earn between $50,000 and $100,000. 10% earn between $100,000 and $149,000. Only 2% earn above $150,000. 76% of males are employed while 72% of women are employed. 51% of households cannot make ends meet or are just managing. 38% have enough financially, while the last 12% have extra money or are wealthy. It is the second lowest Jewish household income area in Brooklyn. Most of the area is populated with Russian Jewish immigrants. In the Bensonhurst/Gravesend/Bay Ridge area there are 21,700 Jewish households. Syrian Jews make up 11% of the area’s population. 67% of Jewish household in the area earn under $50,000. 21% earn between $50,000 and $99,999. 9% earn between $100,000 and $149,000. 3% earn more than $150,000. 73% of Jewish men work while only 60% of women are employed. 54% of households cannot make ends meet. 36% have enough financially while 11% have extra or are wealthy. In the Flatbush/Midwood/Kensington area, there are 34,500 Jewish households. Of them, 52% earn under $50,000. 29% earn between $50,000 and $99,999. 11% earn between $100,000 and $149,000. 11% earn above $150,000. 66% of men are employed while 69% of females are employed. 54% cannot make ends meet, 33% have enough money, and 13% have extra money or are wealth. Borough Park has the densest Jewish population in Brooklyn. It contains 31,200 households. Of them, 68% earn under $50,000, 19% earn between $50,000 and $99,999, 8% earn between $100,000 and $149,000, and 5% earn above $150,000. 77% of males are employed while 62% of women work. 62% cannot make ends meet. 25% have enough and 13% have extra money. Brownstone Brooklyn contains 11,500 Jewish households. A wealthy Jewish area, 16% earn under $50,000, 38% earn between $50,000 and $99,999, 15% earn between $100,000 and $149,000 and 32% earn above $150,000. 93% of Jewsih men in this area are employed while 79% of women are employed as well.[67][69]

Housing and Household Analysis Up-Arrow

By Josh Setton New York City There are 496,000 Jewish households in New York City. This is an increase of 2% from the 486,000 Jewish households in 1991, an a 9% from the 455,000 households in 2002. Jewish households that contain a biracial, Hispanic, or nonwhite person range widely throughout different areas; the highest concentration being in Northeast Bronx with 59% and the lowest being Borough Park with 2%. The percentage of households with an Israeli adult ranges from 14% (Flatbush/Midwood) to less than 1% (Brownstone Brooklyn). The following are maps showing the age makeup of Jewish households throughout the city: This first map shows the number of children. The highest numbers are in Borough Park, Midwood, and Williamsburg. Number of children 17 and under in Jewish households This map shows the number of young adults. The numbers are similar to the number of children in most areas. NUmber of young aduts (18-39) in Jewish households In this map of seniors, the higher amounts shift to the Coney Island areas. Number of seniors in Jewish households From this data, one can get a better idea of the makeup of different Jewish communities. Areas such as Coney Island, made up of high amounts of seniors, are probably communities that are beginning to die out- the younger people are laving for different places. Areas with high percentages of kids, such as Borough Park, typically have large populations of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who have, on average, many more children per family than the total Jewish population. Jewish religion and demographics have many strong correlations. Brooklyn Brooklyn contains 200,000 Jewish households, which is 41% of the total amount of Jewish households in New York City. Jewish households in Brooklyn have exploded in the past 20 years, up 42% from the 1991 count of 141,000. Jews make up 22% of households in Brooklyn. 37% of these households are owned, and 63% rented. 34% of Jewish households have children aged 17 and younger, 35% consist of only adults ages 18-64, and 34% of households have seniors aged sixty-five and older and contain no children. 57% of Jewish households consist of married couples.[67]

Jewish Engagement, Connections and Education Analysis Up-Arrow

By Ayelet Roller Brooklyn, or Kings County, is the county with the largest growing Jewish population. In Brooklyn, the largest segment of Jews is part of the Orthodox Community, with 41% of the Jewish population. 24% identify themselves as “secular”, and 16% as “non-denominational. Reform and Conservative Jews are the smallest segment of the population, with a meager 11% and 9% respectively. Though these are the numbers for each denomination represented in the Jewish population of Brooklyn, feelings connectedness to the religion are much higher. 71% of respondents stated that “being Jewish is very important.” In terms of feeling that being a part of a Jewish community is very important, 59% respondents answered yes, and 47% feel a part of a Jewish community. 23% of respondents wish they knew even more about the religion. Participation in Jewish cultural activities in Brooklyn are also very high. 70% of respondents closest friends are Jewish. 55% have traveled to Israel, and 52% feel very connected to the country. 53% of respondents are either member of a synagogue themselves, or have someone in their immediate family that is. Religious activities are also very important to the Jewish population in Brooklyn. Passover, Hannukah and Yom Kippur are observed regularly with over 70% of respondents. Over 50% of respondents are somehow involved with the weekly observation of the Sabbath. All in all, the Jewish community in Brooklyn is very active and observant. At first the numbers may suggest otherwise, but with further observation and specific topics, the Jewish population is very involved.[67]

Chart 1

Chart 2


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  2. Sussman, Lance. "New York Jewish History | New York State Archives." New York State Archives.
  3. Zollman, Joellyn. "Jewish Immigration to America - My Jewish Learning." Judaism & Jewish Life - My Jewish Learning.
  4. ibid.
  5. Sussman, Lance. "New York Jewish History | New York State Archives." New York State Archives.
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  7. ibid.
  8. Zollman, Joellyn. "Jewish Immigration to America - My Jewish Learning." Judaism & Jewish Life - My Jewish Learning.
  9. ibid.
  10. "American Jewish Immigration," The Sherwin Museum of Jewish Art, (Accessed April 18, 2013).
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  12. Lance S. Sussman "New York Jewish History", New York State Archives, (Accessed April 21, 2013)
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  17. ibid, 117.
  18. ibid.
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  22. ibid.
  23. "American Jewish Immigration", The Sherwin Museum of Jewish Art, (Accessed April 18, 2013)
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  25. ibid, 172-173
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  30. The Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative, Brooklyn Historical Society, Updated 2013 (Accessed April 25, 2013)
  31. ibid.
  32. ibid.
  33. Michael Pollack, "F.Y.I", The New York Times, April 22, 2007 (Accessed April 26, 2013)
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  37. The Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative, Brooklyn Historical Society, Updated 2013 (Accessed April 18, 2013)
  38. ibid.
  39. ibid.
  40. ibid.
  41. ibid.
  42. ibid.
  43. ibid.
  44. ibid.
  45. ibid.
  46. ibid.
  47. Shlomo Greenwald, "Jewish Community Shrinking, But Surviving," Canarsie Courier, 23, Dec. 2004, 26, May 2013,
  48. "Brownsville," The Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative, Brooklyn Historical Society, Updated 2013 (Accessed 26, May 2013)
  49. ibid.
  50. ibid.
  51. ibid.
  52. ibid.
  53. ibid.
  54. ibid.
  55. ibid.
  56. ibid.
  57. Kenneth T. Jackson and John B. Manbeck, “The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Second Edition” (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2004), 26-29
  58. "Flatbush Malls Highlights : NYC Parks." New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Accessed May 6, 2013.
  59. "Flatbush | The Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative (BJHI)." Welcome to The Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative.
  60. "Kensington | The Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative (BJHI)." Welcome to The Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative.
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  63. ibid.
  64. Greenpoint Shul, Congregation Ahavas Yisrael, Copyrighted 2013 (Accessed April 25, 2013)
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  66. “Maimonedes Medical Center,” New York State Department of Health, (Accessed April 22, 2013)
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  68. Simone Weichselbaum, “Nearly One in Four Brooklyn Residents are Jews,” New York Daily News, June 26, 2012 (Accessed May 5, 2013)
  69. The Association of Religion Archives—1980-2010 Religious Congregations and Membership Studies

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