Considered to be the cradle of Jewish-American heritage, the Lower East Side was once home to thousands of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, RussiaGermany and Greeks.

Starting in the 1880s, a violent wave of Anti-Semitism overseas caused hundreds of thousands of Jews to flee to America.  They came with little material wealth but brought their rich culture of religion and spirituality,special foods, literature and music and a unique language called Yiddish.

The Jews of the Lower East Side lived in cramped tenement apartments, worked long hours in factories for low wages, peddled pushcarts in the streets and fought disease and discrimination.  Though the struggled to make a life for themselves in the “new world”, they celebrated life where and when they could – in magnificent, ornate synagogues, in educational community centers, and at Yiddish theaters.  The passage of time - and the help of social activists and philanthropists- enabled the Jews of the Lower East Side to move up, out and beyond the neighborhood.  Still, signs of an era past can be seen on the streets and sites where Jewish culture once flourished.  

Join me as we take a walk back in time and...

Stroll down Orchard Street known for its shopping and Essex Street, once home to dozens of Judaica stores. Gaze upon venerable synagogues such as the Eldridge Street Synagogue and Beth Hamedrash Hagadol.  Visit Straus Square, once a hub of Jewish political,intellectual and philanthropic activism. See the Forward Building,former home of The Forward Yiddish newspaper that sold 250,000 copies a day.  

Hear about people who changed society on the Lower East Side: Abraham Cahan, socialist newspaper editor; Lillian Wald,social activist and humanitarian; Rabbi Jacob Joseph, spiritual leader; Nathan Straus, philanthropist; Emma Goldman, political activist; Isaac Bashevis Singer, author; and more.

During our walk down memory lane is over, we will see some of the century-old eateries, Yonah Schimmel Knishery, Russ and Daughters Appetizing and Katz's Delicatessen. Why not grab a nosh!?!