The East Bronx

The Jewish population of the East Bronx grew to a peak of over 150,000 soon after the New York CIty subway system reached the area in 1927.

There were numerous small synagogues in storefronts and private houses as well as a good number of larger buildings newly built as shuls  You could walk from Soundview in the South to Wakefield and Edenwald in the North and never go ten blocks without passing a Synagogue. The area encompasing Pelham Parkway and Parkchester was home to over 30 Synagogues of various sizes.

The Jewish Center of WIlliamsbridge and the Pelham Parkway Jewish Center each had Hebrew Schools with enrollments of over 400 youngsters throughout the 1940’s, 50’s and into the 60’s.

There were dozens of Kosher butcher shops, bakeries and groceries serving the Jewish neighborhoods. All of the stores on shopping strips such as Lydig Avenue were closed on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Jewish Organizations like Haddassah, ORT and B’nai Brith had so many local chapters they opened local storefront headquarter offices to coordinate their work.

By Rabbi David Edelstein