Connect with us


Historic church being housed by a synagogue gets green light for restoration



(New York Jewish Week) — When a fire devastated the Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village two years ago, East End Temple, a nearby Reform synagogue, welcomed church-goers to worship in their sanctuary.

Since then, a relationship has blossomed between the synagogue and the church, which has remained homeless due to the six-alarm fire that  destroyed most of the historic building in 2020.  

But this weekend, when the congregations get together for a planned Martin Luther King Jr. Teach-In this Sunday, they’ll have something additional to celebrate: The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission cleared the way for the church to build a new home.

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis of Middle Church said on Wednesday that the Landmarks Commission voted to allow the church to remove the burnt remains of its facade, allowing the congregation to rebuild.

According to Lewis, East End’s Rabbi Josh Stanton was one of the first people who reached out to her after the fire, which started next door. The synagogue has since supported the church in its efforts to win approval for its renovation so that it can return home. 

“Truly, God is good,” Lewis wrote on Twitter. “Out of this fire, fierce love is rising.”

Yesterday, the NYC Landmarks Commission voted to let us remove the destroyed remnants of our facade, so we can build a new home.

As Christian fascism rises, the world needs churches like Middle. As unapologetically antiracist, prochoice, and queer as God.

— Middle Church (@middlechurch) January 11, 2023

Stanton welcomed the Landmarks Commission’s decision.

“I am relieved by the decision and elated that Middle Collegiate Church will be able to rebuild,” Stanton said. “Buildings are meant to serve human needs and higher purposes — and the new church building will do so in transformational ways.”

He told the New York Jewish Week that the relationship between the two congregations builds upon King’s legacy. “We view each other as kindred spirits as opposed to feeling a sense of animus,” Stanton said, adding that some 300 people from both congregations are planning to attend Sunday’s teach-in, which is about strengthening the bond between black and Jewish communities.  

“We are, as a Jewish community, going to church with our wonderful friends and colleagues at the leading multicultural church in New York City,” Stanton said. 

He added that the church will continue to use the synagogue sanctuary for the ‘foreseeable future,’ unless it should outgrow the space.”

In a time of rising antisemitism, he added, this type of joint learning is “essential work,” he added. “This is one of those opportune moments, probably the most opportune since the Civil Rights era, for Black folks, Jewish folks, and Black and Jewish folks, to work together in a concerted way.” Last year, a number of African-American celebrities — notably the rapper Kanye West and the New York Nets star Kyrie Irving — were criticized for sharing antisemitic tropes with their millions of social media followers, stoking tensions between the Black and Jewish communities.

Both Lewis, Stanton and others will speak at the King event. After church services, the community will break bread, take part in community organizing work and learn more about their shared history.  

Middle Church has served the East Village community since 1892. Before the fire, it was a community hub for other social programs — some run by other synagogues — including soup kitchens and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. It has also played a role in supporting people during the AIDS crisis, helping people pay rent during Covid and more recently, supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia.  

Since Easter of 2021, the church has prayed at the synagogue’s sanctuary on East 17th Street every Sunday.

It’s not all bleak out there.

I went to church last Sunday, where East End Temple, a Jewish synagogue in the East Village, has been hosting @middlechurch for almost two years after a fire destroyed their historic building.

— Jacob Henry (@jhenrynews) December 8, 2022

The Temple covered upwards of 95% of the cost for the church to rent the space.  

“Josh was offering me a tabernacle,” Lewis told the New York Jewish Week last month. “This big-hearted rabbi opens the door to a church, in a time of rising antisemitism, that’s just bold, fierce love at work.” 

In her tweet announcing the Landmark Commission’s approval, Lewis also thanked multiple elected officials who helped fight for the church, including Council Member Carlina Rivera, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Assembly Members Harvey Epsteim and Deborah Glick, and the NYC Mayor Faith Advisor Pastor Gil Monrose.  

“We are forever in your debt,” Lewis wrote. 

The MLK event is taking place this Sunday, Jan. 15 at East End Temple in the East Village. The church is also accepting donations to support its rebuilding efforts. 

The post Historic church being housed by a synagogue gets green light for restoration appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

Continue Reading

Local News

Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

Continue Reading


Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News