Fire seriously damages historic Lower East Side synagogue

Fire seriously damages historic Lower East Side synagogue”

In NY there was a large fire in the oldest synagogue in Beth Ha-Midrash ha-Gadol, which is located in Manhattan.

"We were able to recover video".

At one point, Beth Hamedrash Hagadol even considered tearing the building down and selling the land, but outcry from preservationists led the synagogue's leadership to change its tune. Police were reluctant to disclose further details.

The Synogogue is located on Norfolk Street in the Lower East Side neighbourhood of Manhattan, close to New York's Chinatown. There were no injuries but the massive fire left plumes of smoke wafting over lower Manhattan.

Built in 1850 as a Baptist church, the building was purchased in 1885 to become the first Eastern European congregation founded in New York City and served Russian Jews. The building was landmarked in 1967.

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New York ADL Deputy Director Etzion Neuer said in a statement that the global Jewish non-profit is in touch with investigating law enforcement officials.

The NYPD now believes the fleeing teens likely caused the blaze, said Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. The congregation closed the synagogue in 2007 after determining it did not have the $3 million to $4 million needed for repairs.

But Rabbi Mendl Greenbaum of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol told the Lo-Down that he was due to meet with the LPC soon about restoration plans for the building.

But recently, the congregation had been trying to save the building and was in the "final steps" of meeting with city inspectors and officials to raise funds and save the building.

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