Riverside Synagogue
Congregation Kehillath Israel Chofetz Chaim

310 West 103rd Street
New York, N.Y. 10025




Congregation Kehillath Israel Chofetz Chaim (Community of Israel Desirer of Life), commonly known as the Riverside Synagogue, was located on the south side of West 103rd Street between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive. It was founded in 1922 by the Rev. Dr. Edward Lissman (1870-1962), who had served as rabbi of the Hebrew Tabernacle in Harlem since that congregation's founding in 1904. By the late 1910s, however, membership had declined when rapidly changing demographics in Harlem caused many Jews to leave the area. In general, middle class Jews moved to Washington Heights or the Bronx, while the upper class moved the Upper West Side. Rabbi Lissman sought to relocate the institution along Riverside Drive, south of 120th Street, while another faction, headed by the board of trustees, advocated a move to Washington Heights. Ultimately, the board prevailed but Dr. Lissman "retired" in protest and founded the Riverside Synagogue in the Upper West Side, taking many members with him. Property was acquired on West 103rd Street and a new building was dedicated in March 1925.

Described as a "small, sprightly man," Rabbi Lissman was appointed honorary chaplain of the Fire Department in 1918, and was named chaplain by Mayor James J. Walker in 1930. He served as rabbi of Riverside Synagogue until 1952.

At some point, Riverside Synagogue disbanded or merged with another congregation, and the building was demolished in the early 1960s.
           
Wurlitzer Organ Company
North Tonawanda, N.Y. – Opus 1072 (1925)
Electro-pneumatic action
Style Sch25
2 manuals, 6 ranks


Wurlitzer's Style Sch25 was a "church" model with 6 ranks, 1 tuned percussion, no traps and a straight console. This organ had a factory date of May 29, 1925, and was sold to the Riverside Synagogue in Manhattan on April 8, 1929.
           
Pedal – 32 notes
16
  Bourdon
8
  Dulciana
8
  Diapason
  Swell to Pedal
8
  Flute
  Great to Pedal

   

   
Great (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Open Diapason
4
  Flute
8
  Salicional
4
  Dulcet
8
  Oboe Horn     Swell Sub to Great
4
  Flute     Swell to Great
4
  Dulciana     Swell Octave to Great
8
  Vox Humana      
4
  Octave     3 Adjustable Combination Pistons
4
  Salicet          (Great & Pedal)
           
Swell (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Bourdon
4
  Flute
8
  Open Diapason
4
  Dulcet
8
  Salicional     Cathedral Chimes
8
  Oboe Horn     Sub Octave
8
  Flute     Unison Off
8
  Dulciana     Octave
8
  Vox Humana      
4
  Octave     3 Adjustable Combination Pistons
4
  Salicet          (Swell & Pedal)

   

   
General
    Crescendo Pedal  
    Balanced Expression Pedal  
    General Tremulant  
    Vox Humana Tremulant  
           
Stop Analysis
8
  Open Diapason
73 pipes
 
8
  Salicional
73 pipes
 
8
  Oboe Horn
61 pipes
 
16
  Flute
85 pipes
 
8
  Dulciana
73 pipes
 
8
  Vox Humana
61 pipes
 
    Cathedral Chimes
18 notes
 
           
Sources:
     American Hebrew and Jewish Messenger (116:15), 1925.
     Gurock, Jeffrey S. When Harlem Was Jewish, 1870–1930. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979.
     Junchen, David L., comp. and ed. by Jeff Weiler. The WurliTzer Pipe Organ – An Illustrated History. Chicago: The American Theatre Organ Society, 2005.
     Kaufmann, Preston J. Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. 3. Pasadena: Showcase Publications, 1995.
     "Rabbi Edward Lissman Is Dead; Fire Department Chaplain, 92," The New York Times (July 30, 1962).
     Walton, Judd. The Wurlitzer Theatre Organ Revised Installations List (with changes updated to January 1973). Published by the author: 1973. Specifications of Wurlitzer Style Sch25. Courtesy Linc Pero.