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Rabbi Singer zt"l




Watch Rabbi Romm describe how the synagogue got its name to a group of visiting Canadians.

1878—Bialystoker landsmen organize the Chevrah Anshei Chesed of Bialystok.  The group meets in a first floor loft at 100 Hester Street (another source says 101 Hester Street).  They later purchase a house at 82 Orchard Street, which they turn into a synagogue.

Max and Ziesel Barth1893—Another group of Bialystoker landsmen organize the Adas Yeshurun Congregation on Grand Street (another source says Broome Street).

1905—A major pogrom in Bialystok, Poland touches off a wave of immigration to the Lower East Side.  Both congregations quickly outgrow their space and look for larger quarters.

May 1905—Anshei Chesed purchases the Methodist Church building and the land around it for $150,000.  The closing takes place on August 3, 1905, at which time the congregation makes a payment of $5,000.  To finance the rest of the loan, they

  • Sell off the land for $40,000

  • Invite Adash Yeshurun to join them.  After two meetings, they agreed and the congregation became known as Beth Hakneses Anshei Bialystok

  • Receive a mortgage for $43,000 from Metropolitan Savings Bank

  • Receive loans from a number of congregants for several thousand dollars

  • Sell the smaller synagogue building for $14,000

In addition to Rabbi Avraham Gelernter, another early rabbi of the Bialystoker shul was Rabbi Yitzchak Leib Epstein. He notes his position in a haskama that he gave to Sefer Be’er Yitzchak by Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Tiktinsky written in 1919

1918Rabbi Jacob Eskolsky, author of Sefer Habrit and Taryag Mitzvot, becomes the rabbi of the congregation, following Rabbi Gelernter.  Der Morgen Journal reported his being named rabbi. He was also a co-editor of the journal, HaMitzpe  There is also a Hebrew-language entry in Wikipedia about him. [Many thanks to Michael Escott, Rabbi Eskolsky's great grandson, for this information]

1928--The synagogue celebrates its 50th anniversary, commemorated in an anniversary journal. [Many thanks to Michael Escott, Rabbi Eskolsky's great grandson, for tracking down this journal in the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center at Tel Aviv University, and to Gennady Pasechnik, the archive's director, who graciously shared the material with Mr. Escott.] 

1931—Rabbi Mitchel Eskolsky becomes the rabbi of the congregation following the death of his father, Jacob, in 1931. In 1952, Rabbi  Eskolsky became the chair of the religious Zionist organization, Mizrachi, and interacted with many leaders in the Jewish community, including Golda Meir, with whom he is pictured. He was honored in 1954 with a dinner commemorating his 25 years of service to the congregation. The guest speaker at that dinner, held at the Plaza Hotel, was Senator Estes Kefauver. Rabbi Eskolsky passed away in 1959

Rav Aharon Kotler zt"l speaks at the Bialystoker Synagogue (Courtesy Beth Medrash Govoha Archives)

May 3, 1953—The congregation celebrates the burning of its mortgage

1960—Rabbi Yitzchok Singer becomes the rabbi of the congregation and leads it until his death in 2001

2002—Rabbi Zvi David Romm becomes the rabbi of the congregation

October 6, 2022—Rabbi Zvi David Romm retires as the rabbi of the congregation

2023—Rabbi Menachem Tuchman becomes the rabbi of the congregation

The New York Public Library has digitized versions of several books about the history of Jews in Bialystok and their dispersion worldwide. 

 [Pictures of Max and Ziesel Barth, founders of the synagogue, provided by his granddaughter Cecily Barth Firestein]

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