Traditional, Egalitarian & Participatory Conservative Synagogue
127 East 82nd St, New York, NY 10028  |  Tel: 212.452.2310
Scott N. Bolton, Rabbi  |  Diane Okrent, President
a Conservative synagogue on the upper east side of nyc

A Brief History of Or Zarua

On Saturday, January 28, 1989, Congregation Or Zarua held its first service with some 35 people in attendance at the 92 Street YMHA. Shabbat services were held once per month at the "Y" until after that year's High Holidays services, which were held in the Jewish Museum. The Congregation's first sukkah was built on the 92nd Street Y's roof. Rabbi Harlan J. Wechsler is Or Zarua's founding rabbi; Mimi Alperin was the Congregation's first president.

The name Or Zarua comes from Psalm 97:11 - "Light is sown for the righteous and joy for the upright of heart" - and was chosen before the Congregation's first service.

The Congregation rented space in a building at 1384 Lexington Avenue, across from the "Y"; the space housed the synagogue offices, the Rabbi's office and a classroom, and the building's back yard was the location of Or Zarua's sukkah.

In the fall of 1990 Or Zarua began its Hebrew School as an afternoon program housed at the Nightingale-Bamford School on East 92nd Street. The Hebrew School remained at this location until the Congregation opened its own building in 2003.

In 1993 the Congregation purchased the Waldensian Church at 127 East 82nd Street and refurbished it as a synagogue, conducting its first service there in May. After purchasing the building the members of Or Zarua were surprised to find in the basement a stone yahrzeit plaque from the late 1920s - the first clue as to the building's interesting religious history. As it turned out, the church was originally built as a synagogue in the early 1880s by Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. After "KJ" sold the building in 1904, a series of synagogues used it until 1950, when it was purchased by the Waldensian Church.

Or Zarua lived in the refurbished building for five years before beginning construction of its present building. Our new building was opened in spring 2003 and is featured in Henri Stoltzman's book Synagogue Architecture In America. About two-thirds of the Congregation's children attend Or Zarua's Hebrew School and the other one-third attend Jewish Day Schools.

O"Z in the Press:
20 Oct. 1994
4 Dec. 1994
20 May 2002
8 Dec. 2002
• Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Bolton - Fasting, Praying, Planting, and Walking Through the Rain
     Masekhet Ta'anit: Wednesdays at 7:30 - 9:00 pm
• Weekly Siddur Class with Rabbi Bolton: Thursdays from 8:40 - 9:40 am, in the Library following minyan
Details and complete list of events
This week at O"Z
Service Times
May 12 - 18, 2019
Morning Minyan:
Weekdays at 7:15 am
Musaf days at 7:00 am
Shabbat at 9:00 am
Sundays at 8:45 am
Check Calendar for changes
   to starting time, if any
Our Morning Minyan is
open to the Community
365 days per year!
FRIDAY, May 17, 2019
Minhah, Kabbalat Shabbat
& Ma'ariv
   6:30 pm Candlelighting 7:50 pm
SATURDAY, May 18, 2019
Shaharit at 9:00 am
This week's Torah reading:
Parashat Emor
Leviticus 21:1 - 24:23
This week's Haftarah:
Ezekiel 44:15 - 44:31
Shabbat Ends
8:49 pm
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127 East 82nd Street
New York, NY 10028
Telephone 212.452.2310
Fax 212.452.2103
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