Memory Lane: Congregation Tifereth Israel
Last week’s article focused on the early history of Congregation Tifereth Israel and its founding in 1907. While the original structure is today Yeshiva Zichron Meilech, a grander center was built on Ocean Parkway in the 1920’s which today serves as a yeshiva.
‘Will Build New Temple for Cantor’
We read in the Morgen Zhournal that in December of 1922, one Anna Silber donated a sefer Torah to the shul. In the Yiddishes Taggeblatt in November of that year, we read of the plans to expand the Shul due to tremendous demand by the congregation itself, as well as the Talmud Torah.
“Chazzan Kirshner makes such an impression on his shul that members resolve to expand it. In the Boro Park, where there are today the greatest chazzonim, we also find Chazzan Yitzchok Kirschner in the Tiferes Yisroel Shul, at 452 Dahill Ditmas Avenue who has made such an impression with his davening last Yamim Nora’im. The mispalelim could not get enough of the sweetness… ‘Give us more’ they begged. He moved them to tears. It was regretful that hundreds were turned away without tickets—so it was resolved immediately after Yom Tov to build.”
In September 1924, the lots between 546-548 Ocean Parkway were purchased. And Harry Falk—never satisfied with mediocrity when it came to house of prayer—set out on a journey, as we read from July 1925: “President Harry Falk of the Ocean Parkway Community Centre which will further improve the architectural beauty… Just south of Prospect Park, with another half-million-dollar group of buildings, he received the best surprise party of his life Tuesday morning when he stepped off the Leviathan at Hoboken.
For three months, he had been traveling in Europe, noting things about Cathedrals, which he believed might be beneficial to those constructing his center. He was just chock full of information and was wondering how he could wait to get home to tell it. Then he stepped off the gangplank and—… He found himself at home. There were two hundred of his members… all under the watchful eye of Rabbi Bosniak.”
In 1926, the sprawling, beautiful complex was inaugurated.
Indeed, looking at the architecture—inside and out—it is evident that much planning and creativity went into every detail. In recent years, this striking edifice has been inhabited by a yeshiva where hundreds of children come to learn each day—surely a merit to the man who strolled through the neighborhood in 1907 and changed the course of history in Boro Park of yesteryear.