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Educational Alliance

About this listing

Century-old Lower East Side community center that serves 30,000 New Yorkers annually

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Lower East Side
Institution, Gathering Place

Place Matters Profile

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

The quote above is attributed to French writer and philosopher Albert Camus (1913-1960), who as the child of pied-noirs (a term referring to European, mainly French, settlers who lived in colonial Algeria before the country gained independence in 1962), was well acquainted with the complex relationship between identity, politics and leadership. At the turn of the 20th century, New York City's nascent Educational Alliance was caught in a push-me-pull-you identity struggle similar to the one Camus described as it negotiated its role in Jewish America - a divided community wrestling with self-definition. During its first decades, the Alliance walked the uneasy line between providing overtly assimilationist social services to foreign-born Lower East Side residents, and responding to the acute reality that those very immigrants...

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On The Web

Education Alliance Website
Watch Education Alliance on YouTube


Rachel Sherrow

Has been around for 120 years as a community center. Eddie Cantor, Walter Mathau, Irving Caeser, Nat Holman, and many others have used the Educational Alliance as a second home.

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