So much has been going on lately in New York City: both pro baseball teams are doing well and are about to play against each other; the US Open tennis tournament entertained us and the world; Pope Francis will be visiting next week; a new subway train station opened up at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue, the first in many years; an alligator was caught walking the streets in upper Manhattan; and more. It rarely lets up around here!

We also observed a very somber anniversary, the 14th year since the horrors of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center (as well as those perpetrated in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon). 9/11 causes many of us to reflect on our lives then and since, and this year it fell just before Rosh HaShanah. I would dare say that the pensive mood we take on during the High Holidays is deepened by this event. So even though there are all these sports competitions and official visits going on, we Jewish New Yorkers also find it is the time to think deeply about life and the past year's events.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Among the things I have thought about are how to document Jewish life, in its various incarnations and its many concerns. I write about "lost synagogues" of New York City and elsewhere, and a major reason why I do so is to educate the public about Jewish religious, artistic and social life. On occasion I hear about a synagogue about to close, and I do my best to get over there and take photos of it, and ask people for their memories of this endangered site.


A modestly sized Queens synagogue is one such unfortunate victim of demographics. The Maspeth Jewish Center, on a major avenue but set back from the street on its plot of land, appears to have closed. This pretty brick building, with stained glass windows and a few other nice touches, appears to have closed. It struck me as particularly sad and even pathetic, because it appears to have closed not long ago. So it apparently did not open for Rosh HaShanah.

New stories from some months ago discussed the imminent closure of this congregation, but I cannot locate an actual closing date. The story seems to be incomplete, making it even more unsettling. I do know of a few congregations that held Holiday services, as their last hurrah, and then closed up shop. Thus it is eerie that the story seems ended but open ended.

What will become of the building, which is located near a major highway (the "LIE", the Long Island Expressway)? What will happen to the religious items and the decorative windows? Where will congregants now go? Interestingly, this congregation does have a presence on the Internet, for there are a number of news articles and even a video to document its life. But more questions remain.

A closing shul does spark a mournful frame of mind, a pensive catalyst for discussing Jewish life in America, the changes in demographics, the ephemeral nature of houses of worship that we know were built with high hopes and dreams of long life. Maspeth JC, sadly, lends itself to the reflective mood of the calendar.

Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

Think others should know about this? Please share