Today, Riverdale is a locus for much organizational Jewish activities. The leafy area along the Hudson River in the northwest Bronx was historically farmland that separated Manhattan’s wealthy from their suburban Westchester retreats. Riverdale, the northwest Bronx, makes up the major portion of the area of community Board No. 8 which also includes Marble Hill, Kingsbridge and Kingsbridge Heights. But, even Riverdale is the generic name for Riverdale, North Riverdale, Fieldston, and Spuyten Duyvil).
The first synagogues in the area were the Kingsbridge Heights and Van Cortlandt Jewish Centers, both orthodox and founded in 1927, as well as the Kingsbridge Center of Israel (Orthodox) . In 1947 Riverdale Temple (reform) became the first organized congregation in the Riverdale area. It was followed shortly by the Riverdale Jewish Center (orthodox) and the Conservative Synagogue of Riverdale: which later merged with Adath Israel of the Concourse (Conservative). Additional Riverdale congregations include the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Young Israel or Riverdale and Young Israel of North Riverdale, Ohab-Zedek, as well as Congregation in the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale.
In recent years, Riverdale saw the addition of Congregation Tehillah and Congregation Shaarei Shalom. There is now a Chabad Lubavitch of Riverdale, as well as several well-known yeshivot, including Salanta Akiba Riverdale (SAR) Academy, Kinnerett Day school, Yeshiva of Telshe Alumni and Yeshivas Ohavei Torah of Riverdale. Additionally, Riverdale is the home of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Studies at Manhattan College, the Derfner Judaica Museum of the Hebrew Home for the Aged and the Holocaust museum of the Bronx High School of Science.
By Martin Wolpoff