New York City Historic Houses of Worship
Religious Institution Current Name: American Sevashram Sangha
Religious Institution Historic Name: American Sevashram Sangha
Original Denomination: Jewish
Current Denomination: Hindu
Street Address: 153-14 90th Avenue
Block: 9753 Lot: 20
Date Congregation Established: [highlight and type here]
Date Construction Initiated: 1948
Date Site Dedicated/Opened for Worship: [highlight and type here]
Date Surveyed: 2008
Style: Vernacular Art Deco
History: YM-YWHA Congregation originally occupied this location (1930). South Jamaica synagogues Mishkan Israel and Linas Hatzedek merged to form the YM-YWHA congregation after WWI (per Queens Jewish Historical Society, Jeff Gottlieb).
The cornerstone of the YMHA-Talmud Torah Mishkan Israel Synagogue was laid on June 26, 1948 (Long Island Press). A relative of Joe Jochonowitz helped “build” the synagogue (Newsday, “Mournful Last Days of Synagogue,” Nov. 16, 1989). The YMYWHA main building had been built in 1930, with an annex constructed in 1950 (The Jews of Downtown Jamaica, by Jeff Gottlieb). The congregation had been the center of Jewish life in the Downtown Jamaica area in the late 1940s and 1950s (Morton Povman, City Councilman, said in Daily News, July 10, 1989), but the majority of the Jewish community left Jamaica in the 1960’s and 1970’s for northern Queens and suburban communities (Jeff Gottlieb). Although it eventually absorbed four other downtown Jamaica syangouges, the synagogue continued to decline in membership in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In 1989, the congregation decided to sell their buildings and merge with the Torah Center of Hillcrest (Daily News, November 16, 1989). The buildings were sold to an Indian congregation (described as an Indian church in contemporary press reports) in 1992 (Queens Jewish Historical Society, 2007).
Exterior Materials: Brick
Roof: Flat and not visible Roof Materials:
Foundation Materials: Brick
Outbuildings: [highlight and type here]
Major Alterations: All the windows have been replaced within the past two years. Some of the Jewish iconography has been rubbed out or replaced.
AMERICAN SEVASHRAM SANGHA