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Beyond the Façade

A Synagogue, a Restoration, a Legacy: Museum at Eldridge Street

Larry Bortniker, Roberta Brandes Gratz, Bonnie Dimun

ISBN: 978 1 85759 718 9
Size: 280 x 178 mm / 11 x 7 in.
Binding: hardback
Pages: 176
Images: 110

UK £29.95 / US $45.00


  • Only book available about the decline and restoration of this magnificent landmark building, featuring historic and new photography
  • Features stunning photographs of the new stained-glass window by contemporary artist Kiki Smith and architect Deborah Gans
  • Beyond the Façade will find a place on the bookshelves of Jews whose families have connections to the Lower East Side, architecture enthusiasts, preservationists and those who appreciate a beautiful site restored as a labour of love where the spirit of the past is preserved and celebrated


Beyond the Façade chronicles the award-winning restoration and renewal of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Spiritual home to immigrant Jews and their descendants since it opened in 1887, the synagogue’s main sanctuary was boarded up and left to the elements for decades before a meticulous 25-year restoration, carefully planned to retain the building’s rich history. The decline and rebirth of the synagogue and the new museum it houses are beautifully documented in more than 100 full-colour photographs with text by writer Larry Bortniker. Roberta Brandes Gratz, an early leader in efforts to preserve the Eldridge Street Synagogue, offers her perspective as a preservationist and urban critic. Beyond the Façade also features stunning photographs of the synagogue’s glorious new stained-glass window by artist Kiki Smith and architect Deborah Gans.


Larry Bortniker is an author and playwright. Roberta Brandes Gratz is an award-winning author and journalist. Bonnie Dimun is the Executive Director of the Museum at Eldridge Street.


"Beyond the Façade demonstrates, in nearly 100 images, the glory that was worth such meticulous restoration. . .This handsome book helps us appreciate the optimism of Jews so comfortable in their new home that they invested so much to beautify their Jewish heritage"