Temple Shaaray Tefila - New York City
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Temple Shaaray Tefila
(Reform Jewish)

250 East 79th Street at Second Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10021
http://www.shaaraytefilanyc.org

Organ Specifications:
250 East 79th Street at Second Avenue (since 1959)
II/22 Austin Organs Inc., Op. 1829 (1937)
160 West 82nd Street (1894-1959)
II/22 Austin Organs Inc., Op. 1829 (1937) – moved (1959)
II/26 George Jardine & Son (1894) – burned (1937)
127 West 44th Street (1869-1894)
• II/40 George Jardine & Son (1881)
112 Wooster Street (1847-1862)
• unknown, if any


Shaaray Tefila Synagogue on 44th Street (1869-1894) - New York City  
127 West 44th Street  
Congregation Shaaray Tefila (Hebrew for Gates of Prayer) was organized in 1845, and its first place of worship was in Franklin Street, near Broadway. In 1846, the congregation erected a synagogue on Wooster Street, near Spring Street, at a cost of $50,000. This synagogue was designed by Blesch & Eidlitz and served the congregation for nineteen years. In 1862 the Wooster Street building was sold and the congregation met in the old armory building that was on the site of the Herald Building.

Following the Civil War years, the congregation erected a new synagogue on a midblock site at 127 West Forty-fourth Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Henry Fernbach designed the synagogue in a variety of styles described by Occident magazine as "Byzantine Mooresque," and its exterior was noted for a central entrance pavilion with a gilded dome above. The sanctuary, described by Moses King as "richly decorated" and "costly," was illuminated by a large rose window over the ark, which, following tradition, was located on the east wall, oriented toward Jerusalem, despite the fact that this placement was awkward in a south-facing building. In keeping with Orthodox tradition, there was a separate gallery for the women. The synagogue was built at a cost of $200,000 and was consecrated in May, 1869.

West End Synagogue on 82nd Street (1894-1959) - New York City  
160 West 82nd Street  
By the 1880s the area had become less residential as the city expanded to the north. Within a few years, the theatre district would move to 42nd Street. The 44th Street synagogue was sold in February 1893, and in May of the same year construction began on a new synagogue on West 82nd Street. On October 5, 1893, the cornerstone was laid for a building that would occupy the 75 by 102 foot lot. Designed by Arnold W. Brunner in a Byzantine-Moorish style, the West End Synagogue, as it would be known, was built of Indiana limestone, brick and terra cotta. The main entrance was arcaded, over which were an elaborate group of arched windows separated by slender columns with carved capitals. A double flight of steps led to the brick and stone vestibule that had a floor of marble mosaic. The sanctuary had galleries on three sides and provided seating for 650 people in a room that was 60 by 70 feet in size and 50 feet high. The ark, crafted of walnut and oak with rich inlays and gilded, was of Moorish style and came from the old synagogue. Above the ark were arcaded windows that were illuminated from behind.

Very early in the morning of March 27, 1937, two fires occurred simultaneously in the basement of the synagogue and caused minor damage. Later that same morning, at 10 o'clock, 700 persons assembled to celebrated the second seder of the Passover. A few hours after the congregation had gone, a third fire was reported at 3:15 o'clock. This fire damaged the the Ark of the Covenant and destroyed 18 hand-illuminated Torah kept in the Tabernacle. The $25,000 pipe organ was badly damaged and the entire south end of the synagogue was wrecked by flames, smoke and the axes of the firemen. After investigations by the Fire Marshall, it was discovered that the incindiary fires had been set by the synagogue's caretaker. The synagogue was reconstructed and remodeled to designs of S. Brian Baylinson, and a four-story synagogue house was added. Both buildings were dedicated at services on Friday night and Saturday, December 17 and 18, 1937.

Following the Second World War, the demographic of the West Side changed as many longtime residents moved to other areas of the city. Much of the Jewish population shifted to Upper Manhattan and the East Side, and their old neighborhoods became home to an influx of immigrants from Puerto Rico. In 1958, after 65 years on West 82nd Street, the West End congregation decided to follow its members to the East Side of Manhattan. The synagogue buildings, still standing, were sold to the Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church of St. Volodymyr, and the congregation relocated to temporary quarters on the East Side.

  Temple Shaaray Tefila - New York City
  credit: Sebastian Glück
The congregation's present sanctuary, located on the corner of East 79th Street and Second Avenue, was was originally built as the Colony movie theatre, later to become a Trans-Lux theatre. The shell of the theatre was converted for use as a synagogue, as designed by John J. McNamara and Horace Ginsbern & Associates, and was dedicated on September 25, 1959. Since moving to the East Side, the congregation reverted to its original and legal name of Shaaray Tefila.
           
Organ in present temple and previous synagogue on West 82nd Street:

Austin Organs Inc.
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 1829 (1937)
Electro-pneumatic action
2 manuals, 23 registers, 18 stops, 20 ranks


This organ was originally built in 1937 by Austin Organs for the West End Synagogue on West 82nd Street. When the congregation relocated in 1959 to their present synagogue, the organ was also moved.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Open Diapason
61
4
  Octave
61
8
  Second Diapason
61
4
  Harmonic Flute
61
8
  Clarabella
61
    Mixture III ranks
183
8
  Dulciana
61
8
  Tromba
61
8
  Unda Maris (TC)
49
       
               
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
73
2 2/3
   Nasard Flute (fr. 4' Fl.)
8
  Diapason
73
2
   Piccolo (fr. 4' Fl.)
8
  Stopped Flute
73
8
   Oboe Horn
73
8
  Salicional
73
8
   Vox Humana
61
8
  Viola Celeste (TC)
61
     Tremulant  
4
  Flute d'Amour
85
       
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes, enclosed
16
  Subbass
44
8
  Flute (fr. Subbass)
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
8
  Gedeckt
SW
           
Organ in West End Synagogue at 160 West 82nd Street:

George Jardine & Son
New York City (1894)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 26 registers, 24 stops, 26 ranks


For the new West End Synagogue on West 82nd Street, an organ was built in 1894 by Geo. Jardine & Son of New York City. The organ and choir were located behind two screened arches on either side of the Bima. The following specification was recorded in an organ notebook by Charles Scharpeger. On a page dated March 1, 1928, Sharpeger noted that the organ had an electric motor, and a walnut case with 23 front pipes in gold from the 16' Open. This organ was destroyed by fire in 1937.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes
8
  Open Diapason
58
4
  Flute Harmonic
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
4
  Principal
58
8
  Oboe Gamba
58
3
  Nazard
58
8
  Aeoline
58
2
  Flageolet
58
8
  Melodia Diapason
58
8
  Trumpet
58
               
Swell Organ (Manual II) – 58 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon Bass
12
4
  Violina
58
16
  Bourdon Treble
46
4
  Flute Traverso
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
2
  Piccolo
58
8
  Clariana
58
    Solo Mixture, 3 ranks
174
8
  Stopped Diapason
58
8
  Bassoon (Bass)
12
8
  Dulciana
58
8
  Cornopean (Treble)
46
8
  Vox Celestis
58
    Tremolo  
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Open Diapason
30
8
  Violoncello
30
16
  Bourdon
30
       
               
Couplers ["4 couplers" not recorded, but the following are suggested]
    Great to Pedal       Swell to Great  
    Swell to Pedal       Swell to Great Octaves  
               
Pedal Movements
    Pedal combinations on Swell   Great to Pedal reversible
    Pedal combinations on Great   Bellows Signal
    Balance Swell Pedal    
           
Organ in synagogue at 127 West 44th Street:

George Jardine & Son
New York City (1881)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 40 stops


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
           
Sources:
     Dunlap, David. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     "New Synagogue Rises After Fire," The New York Times (Dec. 5, 1937).
     Nichols, Mollie. Stoplist of Austin Organ, Op. 1829 (1937) as of 2006.
     Ochse, Orpha. Austin Organs. Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 2001.
     "100th Year Celebrated," The New York Times (Nov. 18, 1945).
     Sharpeger, Charles. Specification of George Jardine & Son organ (1894). Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     "Shaaray Tefila's New Home," The New York Times (Apr. 14, 1894).
     Temple Shaaray Tefila web site: http://www.shaaraytefilanyc.org
     "West End Synagogue Plans Fete," The New York Times (Dec. 17, 1937).
     "West End Temple Going to East Side," The New York Times (Jun. 7, 1958).

Illustrations:
     Glück, Sebastian. Undated photo of Shaaray Tefila on West 42nd Street; Bima of present sanctuary.
     The New York Times (Apr. 14, 1894). Drawing of West End Synagogue.