The Corner of Lexington and Aleppo
Today on Tablet, Syrian Jews take the Upper East Side
Allison Hoffman, Tablet’s senior writer and moral compass, has a dispatch today about how the vibrant Syrian Jewish community is branching out from its old digs in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Midwood and Gravesend and setting up shop uptown in Manhattan.
Now the Syrian Sephardic Jewish community is once again establishing itself in Manhattan. It’s been nearly a decade since Congregation Edmond J. Safra—whose namesake built a banking fortune in Brazil—opened just off Central Park on East 63rd Street, to serve people like him: Jews from Middle Eastern countries who grew wealthy, largely outside the United States, and settled on the Upper East Side along with other members of the moneyed global elite. (Safra was found dead in his Monaco home in 1999.) But the synagogue’s list has grown to 1,500 families, and much of its recent growth has been fueled by Brooklyn transplants. “It used to be only singles, and then it became newlyweds, but for only one or two years,” said Elie Abadie, the entrepreneurial Mexico City-raised rabbi of the Safra synagogue. “Now we have young families, and we have empty-nesters moving in, once their children have all married.”
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