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Kehila Kedosha Janina

Kehila Kedosha Janina
Kehila Kedosha Janina synagogue in 2007
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusSynagogue
LeadershipLay led
Location280 Broome Street, Manhattan, New York City, New York
CountryUnited States
Kehila Kedosha Janina is located in Lower Manhattan
Kehila Kedosha Janina
Location in Lower Manhattan
Geographic coordinates40°43′7″N 73°59′28″W / 40.71861°N 73.99111°W / 40.71861; -73.99111
Architect(s)Sydney Daub
Date established1906 (as a congregation)
Width20 feet (6.1 m)
MaterialsBrick; stone
Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue
Arealess than one acre
NRHP reference No.99001430
NYCL No.2143
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 30, 1999
Designated NYCLMay 11, 2004

Kehila Kedosha Janina (Holy Community of Janina) is a synagogue located at 280 Broome Street between Allen and Eldridge Streets in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States.

The synagogue is the only Romaniote rite synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Romaniote traditions are separate from those of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Judaism, deriving their lineage in the Eastern Mediterranean for nearly 2000 years, long before the Spanish Inquisition.[2]

The building was built between 1925 and 1927 and was designed by Sydney Daub[3] in the Classical Revival and Moorish Revival styles. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 30, 1999, and was designated a New York City Landmark on May 11, 2004.[2] It underwent a major restoration in 2006 by architect Leonard Colchamiro, a descendant of one of the community's original founders.


Kehila Kedosha Janina is the only Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.[2] The congregation was founded in 1906 by Greek Jewish immigrants from Ioannina, but the synagogue itself was not erected until 1927.[4] The years from then until the Second World War were a time of prosperity for the Romaniote community in the Lower East Side: there were three rabbis in the synagogue, and on the High Holidays, there was often only standing room for synagogue services. After the Second World War, many congregants moved to other boroughs and parts of Manhattan, including Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, though these communities are no longer active.

Although the community has steadily dwindled since its pre-war heyday, services are still held on shabbat and Jewish holidays.[4] While it maintains a mailing list of 5,000 persons, it often has difficulty meeting the minyan for shabbat worship.[4] Guided tours are offered each Sunday to visitors and by special appointment.[4]

The Janina Landsmanshaft has a burial plot at Wellwood Cemetery where there is a memorial to the Jews of Ioannina murdered in the Shoah.

Building layout

Kehila Kedosha Janina is somewhat unusual for a Romaniote synagogue in that it runs north south with the Ehal on the north side (Romaniote synagogues typically run east to west), the bimah is in the center of the main sanctuary (most Romaniote synagogues place the bimah on the west wall), and the internal stairway for the women's balcony. It is typical in the fact that men and women sit separately (a feature of all Orthodox synagogues). The second floor women's gallery contains a museum with artifacts, exhibits, and Judaica on Jewish life in Greece and the history of Greek Jews as well as a gift shop. Exhibited items are housed in cases along the walls on either side behind the seats, as well as in the area immediately in front of the staircase.[5][6]

In popular culture

A documentary film about the synagogue and community, The Last Greeks on Broome Street, was produced in the early 2000s. It is directed, written and narrated by Ed Askinazi, whose great-grandparents were among the congregation's founders.[7][8]

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Kehila Kedosha Janina Designation Report" (PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. May 11, 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 11, 2010.
  3. ^ Dunlap, David W. (2004). From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12543-7., p. 123
  4. ^ a b c d Silver, Laura (June 18, 2008). "Spreading little-known history of Romaniote Jews". Daily News. New York. Retrieved April 30, 2024 – via
  5. ^ Synagogue and Museum Tour Photo
  6. ^ Current Exhibits
  7. ^ Robinson, George (January 27, 2006). ""When Less Is More" - A short documentary on Romaniote Jews and a pithy drama about a Moroccan Jewish family are among the standouts at Sephardic film festival". The Jewish Week. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  8. ^ "The Last Greeks on Broome Street (2005)". IMDB. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
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Kehila Kedosha Janina
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