Hebrew Tabernacle Congregation - New York City (photo: Steven E. Lawson)
 
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Hebrew Tabernacle Congregation
(Reform Judaism)

551 Fort Washington Avenue at West 185th Street
New York, N.Y. 10033
http://ny011.urj.net

Organ Specifications:
551 Fort Washington Avenue (since 1973):
• II/ Allen Organ Co. electronic
III/16 Henry Pilcher's Sons, Op. 1536 (1932)
609 West 161st Street (1922-1973):
III/16 M.P. Möller, Inc., Op. 4691 (1926)
220 West 130th Street (1906-1922):
• II/26reg M.P. Möller, Inc., Op. 1067 (1908)


The Hebrew Tabernacle Congregation was founded in 1906, and held its services at 220 West 130th Street in a building which later became the Williams Institutional C.M.E. Church. In 1922, the congregation laid the cornerstone for a new synagogue and community house at 605 West 161st Street, near Fort Washington Avenue. Completed at a cost of $500,000 in 1925, the buildings were designed by George and Edward Blum and Ludwig Hanauer, and featured terra cotta trim and a deep latticework arch over the entrance. These remarkable buildings later became a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.

In 1973, Hebrew Tabernacle moved to its present location across from Bennett Park in Washington Heights. Built in 1931-32 for the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, the Art Deco building was designed by Cherry & Matz and is noted for its white stone facade. The area is home to many German Jews who fled or survived the Holocaust. In 2002, Congregation Beth Am, known as the People’s Temple, merged with Hebrew Tabernacle.
           
Allen Organ Company
Macungie, Pa.
Model ADC 500 electronic instrument
2 manuals, 47 stops, 53 equivalent ranks


At an unknown time, the congregation purchased a two-manual digital instrument built by the Allen Organ Company.
           
 

Henry Pilcher's Son Organ (ca.1932) at Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist (now Hebrew Tabernacle) - New York City (photo: Jeff Scofield)

 

Pilcher organ in Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist

Henry Pilcher's Sons
Louisville, Ky. – Opus 1536 (1932)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 38 stops, 16 ranks


The Pilcher organ built in 1932 for the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, was installed behind an unusual organ case, "made of metal..., and not round but square or oblong with the feet following that same pattern. These peculiar pipes, against the tone of the wood-work and wall and ceiling treatment produce an effect as delightful as it is unusual." The American Organist (June 1932)

At some point, this organ was removed and replaced with an electronic instrument.
   
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed with Choir
8
*
Diapason
73
4
  Octave
73
8
  Grossfloete
85
4
  Grossfloete (fr. 8')
8
  Clarabella
85
    Tremulant  
8
  Gamba
73

 
* unenclosed

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Salicional
97
4
  Salicional (fr. 16')
8
  English Diapason
73
2 2/3
  Salicional (fr. 16')
8
  Gedeckt
85
2
  Salicional (fr. 16')
8
  Salicional (fr. 16')
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Voix Celeste [TC]
61
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Aeoline
73

  Tremulant  
4
  Gedeckt (fr. 8')
       

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Dulciana
97
4
  Clarabella
GT
8
  Dulciana (fr. 16')
2 2/3
  Dulciana (fr. 16')
8
  Clarabella
GT
2
  Dulciana (fr. 16')
8
  Gamba
GT
8
  French Horn
73
4
  Dulciana (fr. 16')
    Tremulant  

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Resultant [Dul. & Sal.]
8
  Dulciana
CH
16
  Diapason
32
8
  Grossfloete
GT
16
  Dulciana
CH
8
  Sub-Bass
16
  Sub-Bass
44
8
  Gamba
GT
16
  Gamba (ext. GT)
12
8
  Salicional
SW
16
  Salicional
SW
   
           
Organ in previous location at 609 West 161st Street:

M. P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 4691 (1926)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 32 stops, 16 ranks


The Möller Factory Specification dated March 30, 1926 shows that this organ had a detached three-manual console with stop keys on the sides. Möller provided wooden casing of quartered oak with a dull finish, and the organ was voiced on 5" wind pressure. Total cost of the organ was $8,500.
   
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed with Choir
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Octave [Eng. Op. Diap.]
CH
8
  Doppel Floete
73
4
  Flute Harmonic [Con. Fl.]
CH
8
  Melodia
73
8
  Tuba
61
8
  Dulciana
73
    Tremulant
8
  Viole d'Gamba
73
   
Chimes
20 bells

     

     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
97
4
  Salicet (fr. 8')
8
  Open Diapason
73
2 2/3
  Flute Twelfth (fr. Bdn)
8
  Orchestral Flute (fr. Bdn)
2
  Flautina (fr. Bdn)
8
  Saliciona
73
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Vox Celeste (TC)
61
8
  Vox Humana
61
4
  Orchestral Flute (fr. Bdn)

  Tremulant  

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  English Open Diapason
73
8
  Viole d'Gamba
GT
8
  Concert Flute
73
4
  Flute Traverso (fr. Melodia)
GT
8
  Doppel Floete
GT
    Tremulant  
8
  Dulciana
GT
       

     

     
Pedal Organ – 32 notes
32
  Resultant
8
  Octave (fr. 16' OD)
16
  Open Diapason
44
8
  Flute (fr. 16' Bdn)
16
  Bourdon
44
8
  Violoncello
GT
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
       
               
Couplers
    Great to Pedal   Swell to Choir 16', 8', 4'
    Swell to Pedal   Choir to Swell 16', 8', 4'
    Choir to Pedal   Great 16', 4', Unison Separation
    Swell to Great 16', 8', 4'   Swell 16', 4', Unison Separation
    Choir to Great 16', 8', 4'   Choir 16', 4', Unison Separation
               
Adjustable Combinations
   
Swell Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 (thumb)
Great Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 (thumb)
Choir Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5 (thumb)
Pedal Organ Pistons 1-2-3-4-5
Full Organ Pistons 1-2-3
               
Pedal Movements
    Balanced Great-Choir Pedal   Great to Pedal Reversible
    Balanced Swell Pedal   Sforzando Pedal
    Grand Crescendo Pedal (with Indicator)    
           
Organ in previous location at 220 West 130th Street:

M. P. Möller, Inc.
Hagerstown, Md. – Opus 1067 (1908)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 26 registers


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     "Another Small Three,"The American Organist (June 1934). Stoplist and description of Henry Pilcher's Sons organ, Op. 1536 (1932). Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     "Church Dedicated $385,000 Debt Paid,"The New York Times (Nov. 30, 1936).
     Dunlap, David. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     "New Synagogue Dedicated,"The New York Times (May 13, 1927).
     Trupiano, Larry. Factory Specification of M.P. Möller organ, Op. 4691 (1926).

Illustrations:
     The American Organist (June 1932). Facade of Henry Pilcher's Sons organ, Op. 1536 (1932). Courtesy Jeff Scofield.
     Lawson, Steven E. Exterior.