Fort Tryon Jewish Center
524 Fort Washington Avenue
New York, NY 10033
Founded in the late 1930’s by a group of long time residents and some brand new immigrants escaping the persecution of Jews in Europe. Although it maintains independence from any branch of Judaism, it is considered to be conservative orthodox in its practice. This means, that while their practice of Judaism is consistent with the traditions of the conservative orthodox branch, they choose to not identify a branch of Judaism when defining themselves as a religious institution.
The congregation began in the basement of a local store and stayed there for over 10 years. In 1950, the land on which the temple currently stands was acquired and the temple was built. Nearly 20 years after its founding, the temple saw a drastic increase in membership as the turmoil in Eastern Europe began to unfold and a second local temple, Temple Beth Shalom, joined forces with the Fort Tryon Jewish Center. This surge in membership lasted until the late eighties, when the temple saw a downward fall to its population. It currently exists with a smaller body of membership, but is active within the Jewish community of Washington Heights.
To a passerby on the street, the building blends into the block. There is a small courtyard held withing the “U” shaped building. The building itself it “L” shaped, but the “U” is created with the subway station It’s facade is a combination of cements and brick work, with little outward indication of its religious presence, other than its name engraved above its entrance.
Aside from services, Fort Tryon Jewish Center offers a plethora of children programs. From services to schooling to Sunday activities, Fort Tryon Jewish Center works to create a religiously educated youth in the Washington Heights Area. Since Judaism has its own distinct language, Hebrew, services are not conducted in other languages. In addition, it hosts dinners for its members to come together and allows for private use of its space for Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations.