Congregation Ezrath Israel

Architecture & Buildings

North America, United States, New York City

The Actors' Temple, officially named Congregation Ezrath Israel, is a synagogue founded in 1917 in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Located at 339 West 47th Street since 1923, the temple was originally dubbed "The West Side Hebrew Relief Association," and it was the synagogue of choice for the entertainment industry. Many vaudeville, musical theater, television, and nightclub performers attended services there, including Sophie Tucker, Shelley Winters, Milton Berle, Al Jolson, Jack Benny, Joe E. Lewis, and Edward G. Robinson. The temple declined after World War II as actors moved to California and the neighborhood changed, going from 300 members to approximately 30 in 2009. In 2005, in order to bring in additional income, the temple started renting out dance rehearsal space to New Dance Group as well as temporarily transforming into a theatre for plays. However, even with this additional income, the $120,000 annual operating costs used up the $2 million endowment by 2009.