Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul

Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul

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This lively ethnography traces a fraught three months in the life of a Jewish congregation stubbornly persisting on the Lower East Side, and affords a candid, lucid and intimate introduction to contemporary synagogue practice. In these pages Jonathan Boyarin invites us to share the intimate life of the Stanton Street Shul, one of the last remaining Jewish congregations on New York's historic Lower East Side. This narrow building, wedged into a lot designed for an old-law tenement, is full of clamorous voices the generations of the dead, who somehow contrive to make their presence known, and the newer generation, keeping the building and its memories alive and making themselves Jews in the process. Through the eyes of Boyarin, at once a member of the congregation and a bemused anthropologist, the book follows this congregation of qyear-round Jewsq through the course of a summer during which its future must once again be decided. The Lower East Side, famous as the jumping off point for millions of Jewish and other immigrants to America, has recently become the hip playground of twenty-something immigrants to the city from elsewhere in America and from abroad. Few imagine that Jewish life there has stubbornly continued through this history of decline and regeneration. Coming inside with Boyarin, we see the congregation's life as a combination of quiet heroism, ironic humor, disputes for the sake of Heaven and perhaps otherwise, and above all the ongoing search for ways to connect with Jewish ancestors while remaining true to oneself in the present. Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul illustrates in poignant and humorous ways the changes in a historic neighborhood facing the challenges of gentrification. It offers readers with no prior knowledge of Judaism and synagogue life a portrait that is at once intimate and intelligible. Most important, perhaps, it shows the congregation's members to be anything but a monochromatic set of uniform qbelieversq but rather a gathering of vibrant, imperfect, indisputably down-to-earth individuals coming together to make a community.... two hours before the davening was scheduled to begin, Rabbi Pollak sent out an e-mail announcing that the woman ... due to a combination ofbad wiring upstairs, which prevented use of the inadequate air conditioner, and a record heatanbsp;...

Title:Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul
Author:Jonathan Boyarin
Publisher:Fordham Univ Press - 2011


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