Shearit Israel Synagogue
The new congregation split from KKBE
In 1840, this lot was purchased by Shearit Israel (“Remnant of Israel”), a congregation founded by traditionalists who broke from Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim following its installation of an organTwo years after the devastating 1838 fire, members of Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim circulated a document advocating for the installation of an organ in the new synagogue, then under construction. The move was supported by hazan Gustavus Poznanski and reform-inclined congregants who wanted to enjoy instrumental music in synagogue worship. It was opposed by those who held to the traditional prohibition of instrumental music on the Sabbath. The “organ faction” won the day and the traditionalists left to form their own congregation, Shearit Israel. in the sanctuary, which they believed violated Jewish Sabbath prohibitions. In 1847, after a protracted fight over control and ownership of the building on Hasell Street, Shearit Israel constructed a synagogue under the supervision of David Lopez Cohen (1820–1893), nephew of prominent builder David Lopez, who had served as contractor for Beth Elohim’s 1840 temple. The two congregations reconciled in 1866 and, in 1867, Shearit Israel sold its building, which became St. Peter’s Catholic Church, an African-American congregation.