gallin Remembrance of Synagogues Past - The Lost Civilization of the Jewish South Bronx
Synagogue Organized Dedicated
Congregation Hope of Israel 1942

843 Walton
at East 158
Bronx, NY 10451
The building is currently abandoned.

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Personal Impressions

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Rabbi Kahn, who was the rabbi from 1959-1964, attempted to revitalize the congregation. He started a post Bar Mitzvah group called the Minyonaires. Among other things, they took trips to the Jewish Museum, had brunch on the Lower East Side and staged plays for the congregation. There were 36 boys in the group.

Mrs. Schiller was a Hebrew School teacher. If a student misbehaved, she would keep his shoe until 6:00 P.M. when school was over.

On the Jewish holidays, people congregated in the park north of the Court House.

I went to Hope of Israel for the holidays to hear the Shofar blowing. My mother, who didn't know what she was reading, went to services regularly.

I live at the Concourse Plaza which is now a Senior Citizens residence. I go to the synagogue every Saturday.

Rabbi Kahn had classes in Hebrew and Bible Study for adults. He loved music and had the congregation sing. Instead of a choir, the congregation was the choir.

There was a kiddush every Saturday. We were one big happy family.

Judge Levy was very active in the synagogue.

A Senior Citizens Center in there now. Lunches are served and there are various activites such as painting and music.

When President Kennedy died, Rabbi Kahn made an outstanding eulogy. It was a memorable occasion.

Rabbi Kahn made many changes when he came. The congregation spent a lot of money for improvements. I remember his saying, 'When I came to this synagogue we had a big bank account. Now we have a big debt'.

Rabbi Kahn moved to Long Island when he left the Hope of Israel.

A local custom that should not go unmentioned: On the High Holidays, everyone dressed up and went to the synagogue. Then, everyone went to Joyce Kilmer Park, which turned into a parade of fur coats, suits and high heels. The young children climbed the rocks and played in the fountain area. The older kids talked and flirted. The adults sat on the benches.

My mother still sends a donation every year, although we are not officially members.

I loved going to Junior Congregation on Saturdays. Somewhere, I believe I still have a sticker book proclaiming my attendance. This was probably during 1959-1963.

Being near Yankee Stadium, there was the once a year appearance of Mel Allen at Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.

Jim Scheuer, when he represented our district, would occasionally show up for Shachrit on Shabbat. And there were various judges and lawyers from across the street whose names (other than George Goodstein) I don't recall who also attended.

I recall when President Kennedy was shot, Rabbi Kahn gave a eulogy. In fact, I think he delivered it 2 or 3 times that day. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. The event and the speaker met and caused a cataclysmic flow of tears. I still have a printed copy of the speech.

My formative years were spent at Congregation Hope of Israel. I had my bar-mitzvah there in 1961 and my Ufruf in 1970. I thought Rabbi Kahn was the greatest speaker. I recall when President Kennedy was shot, Rabbi Kahn gave the eulogy - In fact he delivered it two or three times that day. There wasn't a dry eye in the house - the event and the speaker met and caused a cataclysmic flow of tears.

I received my introduction to Politics 101 lessons at the Hope of Israel. The President of the synagogue was Leonard Fastenberg who was a city councilman. I worked for him during the primary elections one summer. My work consisted of being at the 161st Street subway and el stations and handing out his literature from 6:30 A.M. to 8:30 A.M. The pay was 50 cents an hour.

Being near Yankee Stadium, there was also the once a year appearance by Mel Allen at Rosh Hashonah or Yom Kippur.