HISTORY TOPICS: THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN LONG ISLAND CITY
THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN LONG ISLAND CITY THE QUEENS JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Israel Eisenberger a founder of Mishkan Israel 1925
The first person of Jewish ancestry in Queens was Edward Jessup. After having a hand in founding Stamford, Connecticut, and West Farms, in the Bronx, he was one of the first pioneers to settle in Newtown Township by the mid-1600s. Elected Magistrate several times, he played an important role in the township's early years. Jessup traced his ancestry to one Guisuppe (or Joseph), an Italian physician who converted to Christianity sometime after he moved to England in the sixteenth century.
The first Jewish organization in modern times was the Hebrew Benevolent Society of Long Island City, formed in August 25, 1888.
Congregation Mishkan Israel, the third oldest Temple in Queens, was located at 27-31 Crescent Street, from 1904 until it burned down in the 1980s.
The conservative Astoria Center of Israel, organized when Mishkan outgrew its space, opened its doors in 1925. Ultimately, the community had eight synagogues where thousands filled the sanctuaries on High Holy Days.
Astoria Center of Israel
Most businesses on Steinway Street, Grand (30th) Avenue and Broadway were Jewish owned -- Eisenberg Gifts, Sig Stern, Rose Furniture -- just to name a few. Today, civic leader and former Steinway merchant, Julie Wager, is "Mr. Steinway Street" to a generation of mayors and borough presidents.
Mainstays of Long Island City industry, Swingline Staples (Jack Linksy), Eagle Electric (Ludwig Family), and Fink Bakery were Jewish owned.
Mishkan Israel Cornerstone
Rabbi Goldberg, pictured here with students, had the distinction of serving in the armed forces intermittently from WW I to the 1960s. He travelled over 28,000 miles becoming the first Jewish naval officer at the rank of Captain. Active in post war ecumenical efforts, he met the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Pope, and other world leaders. Born in Russia, he lived in Astoria in the 1920s. He died in his mid-ninties in Florida about 1995.
Look into the faces of these people: homeowners, business people, retail shop owners and students. This is the story of a strong community which helped build Long Island City.
Confirmation class 1929 Astoria Center of Israel
Steinway Street 1970
For further information contact the Queens Jewish Historical Society, PO Box N, Kew Gardens New York, 11415 or President Jeff Gotlieb at (917) 376-4496.