The Park East Synagogue is a Modern Orthodox Jewish synagogue for Congregation Zichron Ephraim at 163 East 67th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States. Built in 1890, the synagogue building was designated as a New York City Landmark in 1980 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Park East Synagogue
Park East Synagogue in 2021
AffiliationModern Orthodox Judaism
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusSynagogue
LeadershipRabbi Arthur Schneier
Location163 East 67th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York City, New York 10065
CountryUnited States
Park East Synagogue is located in Manhattan
Park East Synagogue
Location in Manhattan
Geographic coordinates40°46′1″N 73°57′48″W / 40.76694°N 73.96333°W / 40.76694; -73.96333
Architect(s)Schneider & Herter
Date established1890 (as a congregation)
  • 1890
Dome(s)2 (since removed)
Park East Synagogue,
Congregation Zichron Ephraim
NRHP reference No.83001738[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPAugust 18, 1983
Designated NYCLJanuary 8, 1980


Domes were present in 1893

The building was built in 1889–1890. The architects were Schneider and Herter,[2] who designed numerous tenements in Manhattan's Lower East Side and Hell's Kitchen neighborhoods.[3]

The building is built in the Moorish Revival style[2] and features a prominent rose window. One of its most remarkable characteristics is the asymmetrical twin towers, as the eastern tower is taller. In comparison, most other synagogues of the period featured twin towers of similar height. The towers are also adorned differently. Each of the towers originally was also topped by a bulbous dome that has since been removed.[4] It is one of fewer than a hundred surviving nineteenth-century American synagogues.[5] The synagogue building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6]

Over the doorway, engraved in granite and written in Hebrew, is a verse from Psalm 100. "Enter into His Gates with Thanksgiving and into His courts with praise."[4]



Congregation Zichron Ephraim was established by Rabbi Bernard Drachman and Jonas Weil to promote Orthodox Judaism as an alternative to Reform Judaism popular on the Upper East Side.[4]

Rabbi Drachman served as spiritual leader for fifty-one years. He died in 1945. Rabbi Zev Zahavy was appointed rabbi of the synagogue on September 1, 1952. He was known as a dynamic spokesman for Orthodox Judaism and many of his sermons were reported on in the New York Times.[7] He and his wife Edith, a noted educator, founded the Park East Day School. On March 16, 1957, Robert Briscoe, the Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin, carrying his tallis bag, visited and prayed at the synagogue on Shabbos morning.

Since 1962, the synagogue's rabbi has been Arthur Schneier. Rabbi Schneier serves Park East Synagogue full-time while also drawing a salary from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation he founded.[8] This leadership structure was criticized in 2021 by Daniel L. Kurtz, former head of the Charities Bureau at the New York State Attorney General’s Office,[9] when he alleged that Park East has failed to hold regular membership meetings to ensure financial transparency.[10] Kurtz also alleged that Park East’s trustees are directly appointed not elected, in a process which he has called “blatantly illegal”.[10]

Rabbi Harold Einsidler is the religious spiritual organizer; his wife Toby is the office and youth leader. The synagogue's chief cantor is Yitzchak Meir Helfgot.[11]

In a letter sent to synagogue membership on October 4, 2021, a group of congregants expressed concern with the synagogue's trajectory and appointed committee which included a longtime assistant rabbi, Benjamin Goldschmidt, the son of Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt. Less than two weeks later, Goldschmidt was fired.[12] The dismissal of Goldschmidt sparked a protest within the synagogue community[13][14][15] and a public objection from Israeli government minister Yoel Razvozov.[10] In February 2022, Goldschmidt and his wife Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt announced that they would create the Altneu along with former Park East members.[16]





The Park East Day School educates children from early childhood through eighth grade.

Notable events


In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI visited the synagogue in the midst of a visit to New York City. This was the third papal visit to a synagogue and the only such visit in the United States.[17][18] In 2016, members of the synagogue heckled and jeered U.N. Director General Ban Ki-moon as he gave an address in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.[19]

Notable members


See also



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "New York Architecture Images: Park East Synagogue". Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  3. ^ Violette, Zachary J. (April 30, 2019). The Decorated Tenement: How Immigrant Builders and Architects Transformed the Slum in the Gilded Age. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-1-4529-6046-3 – via Google Books.[dead link]
  4. ^ a b c ["Application for National Historic Site status". Archived from the original on February 12, 2012.
  5. ^ Gordon, Mark W. (1996). "Rediscovering Jewish Infrastructure: Update on United States Nineteenth Century Synagogues". American Jewish History. Vol. 84 (2019 article update ed.). pp. 11–27.
  6. ^ National register of historic places, 1966-1994 : cumulative list through January 1, 1994. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officeers. 1994. ISBN 978-0-89133-254-1.
  7. ^ Palmer, Joanne (May 5, 2016). "Wash your hands!". Archived from the original on February 21, 2022. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  8. ^ Sales, Ben (October 27, 2021). "A world-famous rabbi, a popular assistant and a succession crisis: Inside the rupture at Park East Synagogue". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  9. ^ Moody, Lizabeth A. (1988). "Review of Board Liability: Guide for Nonprofit Directors". The Business Lawyer. 43 (4): 1605–1608. ISSN 0007-6899. JSTOR 40686971.
  10. ^ a b c Stack, Liam (December 3, 2021). "A Synagogue Feud Spills Into Public View: 'Only Room for One Rabbi'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  11. ^ "Chief Cantor Helfgot Bio: Park East Synagogue". Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  12. ^ Sales, Ben (October 20, 2021). "Park East Synagogue pushes out assistant rabbi, sparking protest". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved May 31, 2024.
  13. ^ Rosen, Armin (October 26, 2021). "Park East Synagogue Fires Assistant Rabbi". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  14. ^ Sales, Ben (October 21, 2021). "Park East Synagogue pushes out assistant rabbi, sparking protest". The Forward. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  15. ^ Hakimi, Lauren (February 17, 2022). "Months after public controversy, Park East Synagogue replaces ousted assistant rabbi". The Forward. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  16. ^ Gergely, Julia (February 16, 2022). "Rabbi ousted from Park East Synagogue announces new congregation on the Upper East Side". New York Jewish Week. Retrieved May 31, 2024.
  17. ^ Garland, Sarah (April 3, 2008). "Pope To Visit Upper East Side Synagogue". The New York Sun. Retrieved April 4, 2008.
  18. ^ Vitello, Paul (April 19, 2008). "In Another Historic Act, Pope Benedict Visits a Manhattan Synagogue". The New York Times.
  19. ^ "UN chief heckled at NY synagogue during holocaust speech". Times of Israel. February 11, 2016.