The Bowery still has a few surprises left.
Just when you thought you’d seen the last incredible new thing on old Skid Row — luxury condominiums, fancy hotels, trendy restaurants and precious boutiques — comes something the Bowery has never had: a synagogue.
Indeed, the synagogue at Chabad Serving N.Y.U., 353 Bowery, at East Fourth Street, may be only the second religious sanctuary ever to have been situated on the Bowery. (The first was the Bowery Mission Chapel at No. 227, which opened in a former coffin factory just over a century ago.)
“To see the Bowery flourishing and our congregation flourishing, it’s a cool shiddach — a match, as we say,” said Rabbi Dov Yonah Korn, the co-director with his wife, Sarah, of the Chabad House.
“Cool shiddach” is the kind of usage you can expect from a 34-year-old former dreadlocked Deadhead who wears Pumas to work, uses an iMac and told the interior designer Penelope Kim that he wanted his study to feel like a “man cave.”
“We believe in a colorful Jewish experience,” Rabbi Korn said. “We honor the past so much, yet at the same time we want to be in the present — with flavor, with swagger, with the hip vibrations of today. That’s expressed in the building.” continue...