Temple Israel - New York City (photo: Brule Laker)
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Temple Israel
(Reform Judaism)

112 East 75th Street
New York, N.Y. 10021
http://www.templeisraelnyc.org/

Organ Specifications:
112 East 75th Street (since 1967)
• unknown
1157 Lexington Avenue (1962-1967)
III/37 Austin Organs Inc., Op. 1707 (1932)
210 West 91st Street (1922-1962)
III/38 Austin Organ Company, Op. 1069 (1922)
Central Park West at 96th Street (1920-1922)
III/40 George Jardine & Son (1894)
201 Lenox Avenue at 120th Street (1907-1920)
III/30 Estey Organ Company, Op. 438 (1907)
211 West 129th Street at Seventh Avenue (c.1905-1907)
III/32 George Jardine & Son (1877)
Fifth Avenue at 125th Street (1888-c.1905)
II/22 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 179 (1880)
214 East 116th Street near 2nd Avenue (1876-1888)
• J.H. & C.S. Odell (c.1877)
124th Street and Third Avenue (1874-1876)
• unknown
216 East 125th Street (1870-1874)
• unknown


Temple Israel was founded in 1870 as Congregation "Hand in Hand" (Yod b'Yod in Hebrew) in the then remote Jewish community of Harlem. The congregation met at first above a printing shop at 216 East 125th Street. According to early descriptions, its founders were "people of moderate circumstances, many of them having small stores on Third Avenue and living behind their shops." The founders, of German origin, were traditionally observant Jews who took their Jewish responsibilities seriously and understood the broad sweep of Jewish history. One of their first acts was to establish a religious school called "The Gates of Learning," which grew as rapidly as the congregation.

In 1874, the synagogue congregation moved to larger quarters on 124th Street. By 1876 the congregation was in its third temporary home, the former Grace-Emmanual Episcopal Church of Harlem at 214 East 116th Street that was leased and later purchased in 1880. Fundraising efforts such as a grand Chanukah dress ball held at the Harlem Casino in 1887 occupied a great deal of the energies of the leadership of the congregation. It was estimated that 2,000 ladies and gentlemen, elegantly costumed, attended the event. A great deal of money was raised for the Hebrew School of Harlem.

Temple Israel of Harlem - New York City (1905 postcard)  
Fifth Avenue at 125th Street  
In 1888, the congregation moved to its first permanent home when they purchased the former Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Harlem, located on Fifth Avenue at 125th Street. The large Romanesque Revival building, designed by John W. Welch, had been erected in 1869 but burned in 1888 and was rebuilt before it was sold. At about this time, the congregation changed its name to the Temple Israel of Harlem. In 1896, the first generation of the congregation founded the Temple Israel Cemetery, located in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

  Mount Olivet Baptist Church - Harlem, New York City
  Lenox Avenue at 120th Street
  Temple Israel (Lenox Av./120th St.)- New York City (Wurts Bros., 1905)
  Temple Israel Sanctuary (1905)
In the early 1900s, Harlem experienced a real estate boom due in part to the opening in 1904 of the IRT subway. In 1905, Temple Israel sold their Fifth Avenue property to a developer for a handsome profit and made plans for a new temple on the northwest corner of Lenox Avenue and 120th Street. The Fifth Avenue building was razed and the congregation worshipped temporarily in Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 129th Street and Seventh Avenue. Plans for the new temple were drawn up by Arnold W. Brunner, a German-Jewish architect from New York who had studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beautx-Arts. Brunner departed from the traditional Moorish architecture by designing a simple but substantial Neoclassical building that featured fluted Ionic columns at the entrance. The auditorium on the main floor provided seating for 1,800 persons, and in the high basement were divided classrooms. Construction began in 1906, and on June 5 that same year the cornerstone was laid in the presence of 600 members with Attorney General Julius M. Mayer as the principal speaker. On Friday evening, May 17, 1907, the new temple was dedicated, as reported by The New York Times (May 18, 1907): "The throng of people who tried to enter the new edifice was so great that at the time the services began it was found necessary to lock the doors. It was said that many members of Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church were present." In 1909, the congregation joined the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the national organization of Reform synagogues.

Young Israel of the West Side - New York City  
91st Street and Amsterdam Avenue  
Over the next few years, Harlem investors overdeloped and the area began a rapid decline as lower income people, including many blacks, moved into the area once home to mainly Irish and Jewish residents. Many Jews moved to Manhattan's Upper West Side, but Temple Israel remained in its Lenox Avenue for 13 years before it, too, made its next move. In July 1920, Temple Israel sold its handsome edifice on Lenox Avenue to a Seventh-day Adventist church (the building was sold in 1925 to its present owners, Mount Olivet Baptist Church). After leaving Harlem, the temple congregation began holding services in the Scotch (Second) Presbyterian Church on Central Park West and 96th Street. Property was purchased on the southwest corner of 91st Street and Amsterdam Avenue, and funds were raised to construct a new temple that would cost about $500,000. Architect William Tachau designed the Neoclassical building that was dedicated on Friday evening, September 21, 1922. In recognition of its new location, the congregation took the name Temple Israel of New York in 1924. Here, the congregation grew considerably and by 1929 had more than 950 members.

Following the end of World War II, the established neighborhoods of the Upper West Side were transformed with the arrival of a new wave of immigrants, including many Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. Once again, much of the Jewish population relocated, this time across Central Park to the Upper East Side, and Temple Israel followed its members. Arrangements were made for temple services to be held in the Unitarian Church of All Souls on Lexington Avenue and 80th Street, and the property on West 91st Street was sold (the building is now home to Young Israel of the West Side).

On March 1, 1964, ground was broken for the present temple at 112 East 75th Street. Designed in the Brutalist style by Peter Claman of Schuman & Lichtenstein, the building has a 100-foot-wide windowless limestone facade that juts over the recessed base and entrances. A cylindrical core rises through the structure to two floors above the roof of the basic structure. In the lower part of the cylinder are two sanctuaries with a total seating capacity of 950 persons: the lower sanctuary seats 450 and is enclosed by 28 stained glass window panels designed by Efraim Weitzman, a specialist in ritual decoration. The two-story portion of the cylinder above the roofline contains classrooms for religious instruction. Under the classrooms is a glass-walled rectangular section—containing a nursery school and meeting rooms for young people—with an adjoining terrace that extends the building's width. Below the street level is an auditorium, a dining room of banquet size and a kitchen. The new temple, although uncompleted, was opened on Thursday, September 15, 1966—the first day of Rosh ha-Shanah and the beginning of the Jewish New Year 5727—when the temple leaders, in a bow to tradition, carried the torahs into their new $3-million home. The newly-completed sanctuary and its 30-foot-high aluminum ark of the covenant were consecrated on Friday, April 14, 1967. The cylindrical ark, designed by Efrem Weitzman as a huge, free-standing scroll, has lace-like exterior gates that guard the Torah which rests on a rock quarried from the slopes of Mount Sinai.
               
Organ in present temple at 112 East 75th Street:

Unknown
             
Organ in All Souls Unitarian Church at 1157 Lexington Avenue at 80th Street:

Austin Organs, Inc.
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 1707 (1932)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 50 stops, 37 ranks


See All Souls Unitarian Church.
             
Organ in temple located at 210 West 91st Street:

Austin Organ Company
Hartford, Conn. – Opus 1069 (1922)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 47 stops, 38 ranks


For their new temple on West 91st Street, Temple Israel contracted with Austin Organs to build a new three-manual organ. A note in the files at Austin Organs states that Austin was contacted about moving the organ in the early 1960s, presumably when the temple was sold in 1962. The fate of this organ is unknown.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes (7" pressure)
8
  First Diapason
73
8
  Viola
73
8
  Second Diapason
73
8
  Dulciana
73
8
  Major Flute (wood)
73
4
  Flute d'Amour
73
8
  Clarabella (wood)
73
8
  Tuba
73
               
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed (7" pressure)
16
  Bourdon
73
4
  Flauto Traverso (wood)
73
8
  Diapason Phonon
73
    Dolce Cornet III ranks
183
8
  Rohr Flute (wood)
73
16
  Contra Fagotto
73
8
  Viole d'Orchestre
73
8
  Cornopean
73
8
  Viole Celeste [TC]
61
8
  Oboe
73
8
  Aeoline
73
8
  Vox Humana
73
8
  Voix Celeste [TC]
61
    Tremolo [valve]  

     

     
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed (3-3/4" pressure)
8
  Diapason
73
2
 
Piccolo
61
8
  Clarabella
GT
8
  French Horn
73
8
  Flute Celeste
61
8
  Clarinet
73
8
  Quintadena
73
    Harp  
8
  Dulciana
GT
    Tremolo  
4
  Flute d'Amour
GT
       
               
Echo Organ– 61 notes, enclosed (5" pressure)
8
  Cor d'Nuit
73
4
  Fern Flute (wood)
73
8
  Gedeckt (wood)
73

8

  Cor Anglais
73
8
  Viole Aetheria
73
8
  Vox Humana
73
8
  Unda Maris [TC]
61
    [Tremolo]  
               
Pedal Organ – 32 notes (7" pressure)

32

  Resultant
16
  Echo Bourdon [ext. EC]
12

16

  Diapason (wood) [unit]
44
8
  Great Flute [Diap.]

16

  Violone [ext. GT]
12
8
  Dolce Flute [Bdn.]

16

  Bourdon [unit]

44

8
  Cello
GT

16

  Dolce Bourdon

SW

16
  Tuba Profunda [ext. GT]
12
             
Organ in Second Presbyterian church on Central Park West at 96th Street:

George Jardine & Son
New York City (1894)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 35 stops, 40 ranks


See Second Presbyterian Church.
             
Organ in temple located at 201 Lenox Avenue:

Estey Organ Company
Brattleboro, Vt. – Opus 438 (1907)
Electro-pneumatic action
3 manuals, 31 stops, 30 ranks


For the new temple on Lenox Avenue, the Estey Organ Company built and installed a three-manual organ having thirty-one stops.
               
Great Organ (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Double Open Diapason
61
8
  Gross Flute
61
8
  Open Diapason I
61
8
  Clarabella (soft)
61
8
  Open Diapason II
61
4
  Flute Harmonic
61
8
  Viol d'Amour
61
8
  Tuba (leathered)
61
 
     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 61 notes, enclosed
16
  Bourdon
61
    Dolce Cornet III ranks
183
8
  English Open Diapason
61
8
  Oboe
61
8
  Stopped Diapason
61
8
  Cornopean (leathered)
61
8
  Salicional
61
8
  Vox Humana
61
8
  Vox Celeste [TC]
49
    Tremolo  
4
  Flute d'Amour
61
       
               
Choir Organ (Manual I) – 61 notes, enclosed
8
  Horn Diapason
61
4
  Flauto Traverso
61
8
  Dolce
61
2
  Harmonic Piccolo
61
8
  Viol d'Orchestre
61
8
  Clarinet
61
8
  Concert Flute
61
    Tremolo  
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Open Diapason
30
16
  Lieblich Gedeckt
SW
16
  Open Diapason
GT
8
  Flute
16
  Bourdon
42
16
  Trombone (leathered, wood)
30
             
Organ in Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church where Temple Israel met from c.1905-1907:

George Jardine & Son
New York City (1887)
Mechanical action
3 manuals, 27 stops, 31 ranks


See Calvary United Methodist Church.
             
Organ built for Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue at 125th Street:

J.H. & C.S. Odell & Co.
New York City – Opus 179 (1880)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 20 stops, 22 ranks


In 1888, Temple Israel purchased the former Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Harlem, located on Fifth Avenue and 125th Street. Included with the purchase was the two-manual J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, Op. 179, that had been built in 1880. The contract for this organ, dated June 21, 1880, stated that Odell would to build a new organ for the rebuilt church building. The handwritten Agreement is unusual in that it was executed on paper measuring approximately 12 by 18 inches. Odell stated that the organ was "To have Two Manuals and a Pedal of Two Octaves and five notes." The organ would be "inclosed [sic] in a suitable case with speaking pipes in front handsomly [sic] decorated in gold and colors..." Odell indicated that the organ would be complete and ready for use on or before November 1st, 1880, for the sum of $3,750 less 2½ per cent.
               
Great Organ (Manual I) – 58 notes
16
  Bourdon [wood]
58
4
  Principal
58
8
  Open Diapason
58
3
  Twelfth
58
8
  Gamba
58
2
  Fifteenth
58
8
  Melodia (Doppel Flöte) [wood]
58
    Mixture, 3 ranks
174
8
  Dolce
58
8
  Trumpet (Harmonic treble)
58
 
     
 
     
Swell Organ (Manual III) – 58 notes, enclosed
8
  Open Diapason
58
4
  Fugara
58
8
  Salicional
58
2
  Piccolo
58
8
  Stopd Diapason [wood]
58
8
  Oboe
58
4
  Flute Harmonic
58
    Tremulant  
               
Pedal Organ – 30 notes
16
  Grand Dbl. Op. Diap. [wood]
30
8
  Violoncello
30
16
  Grand Bourdon [wood]
30
       
               
Couplers &c
    Patent Reversible coupler   Swell to Pedal
    Swell to Great   Bellows Signal
    Great to Pedal   Balance Swell Pedal
         
Patent Pneumatic Compositions
1
  Full Great Organ
5
  Gamba, Melodia & Dolce
2
  Full to Mixture
6
  Gamba & Dolce
3
  Full to Principal
7
  Melodia
4
  All the eight-feet stops
8
  Dolce
               
Organ built for Grace-Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 214 East 116th Street:

J.H. & C.S. Odell
New York City (c.1877)
Mechanical action


Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
               
Sources:
     Adams, Michael Henry. Harlem Lost and Found: An Architectural and Social History, 1765-1915. New York: Monacelli Press, 2002.
     Dunlap, David. From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.
     The Estey Pipe Organ web site: www.esteyorgan.com
     "Jam at Dedication of Temple Israel," The New York Times (May 18, 1907).
     Lewis, James. Specifications of Estey Organ, Op. 438 (1907).
     "$93,000 is Raised for Temple Israel," The New York Times (Dec. 4, 1921).
     National Museum of Jewish History web site: http://www.nmajh.org
     "A New Synagogue in Harlem," The New York Times (Sep. 11, 1876).
     Olitzky, Kerry M. The American Synagogue: A Historical Dictionary and Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.
     Salwen, Peter. Upper West Side Story: A History and Guide. New York: Abbeville Press, 1989.
     "Temple Cornerstone Laid," The New York Times (June 6, 1906)
     "Temple Israel Buys Site," The New York Times (Apr. 12, 1921).
     Temple Israel Cemetery, brochure published by Temple Israel of New York City.
     "Temple Israel Dedicated," The New York Times (Sep. 23, 1922).
     "Temple Israel of Harlem," The New York Times (May 16, 1898).
     "Temple Israel Resells Plot," The New York Times (Nov. 3, 1921).
     "Temple Israel to Consecrate Ark," The New York Times (Apr. 7, 1967).
     Temple Israel web site: http://www.templeisraelnyc.org/
     "Torahs Carried to New Temple," The New York Times (Sep. 15, 1966).
     Trupiano, Larry. Contract and specifications of J.H. & C.S. Odell organ, Op. 179 (1880).
     Trupiano, Larry. Organ list from the files of Louis F. Mohr & Company.
     Trupiano, Larry. Specifications of Austin organ, Op. 1069 (1922).
     "$2.2-Million Temple Israel Nearing Completion," The New York Times (Nov. 20, 1966).

Illustrations:
     Laker, Brule. Exterior, Temple Israel.
     National Museum of Jewish History web site. 1905 postcard, Temple Israel of Harlem.
     Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). Photo (1905) of Sanctuary on Lenox Avenue & 120th Street. Collection of the Museum of the City of New York.