16 May 2009

Book: Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn

Calling all Brooklynites! Avotaynu's Gary Mokotoff has announced a new book - "Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn," by Ellen Levitt, a lifelong Brooklyn resident.

As a former resident myself, it was interesting to peruse the list of synagogues and addresses and find myself getting a little nostalgic.
Some 91 synagogues are photographed and written about in detail in the pages of this book.

Jewish life in Brownsville, East New York, Flatbush-East Flatbush, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and other nearby areas of Brooklyn through the 1950s was a lively, rich, and varied environment. During the next few decades it dissipated greatly. As Jews moved to other areas, they left
behind their synagogues.

Avotaynu's latest book, "The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn," is a photographic essay of these ex-shuls; it tells what happened to them and how they appear today. Many became churches whose facades still have Jewish symbols.
The book offers photographs, interviews and analyses on these 91 structures. Some have been preserved, others are in disrepair. Included are the memories of former members of those congregations, as well as of the church members who own the buildings today.

Some of the photos in a Brooklyn Historical Society exhibit (November 2006-February 2007), and Levitt lectured on the topic. The exhibit and lecture were the impetus for this book.

For more information, click here to see the table of contents, a sample page and a list of the synagogues pictured.

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