Select Page

Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation (former)

About this listing

 Former home of one of Harlem’s principal Black Jewish congregations

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Harlem
Residential, Social Movements, African/ American, Place of Worship

Place Matters Profile

Written by Benjamin Akhavan 

The Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation is embroiled in a complicated history. Throughout the twentieth century, the congregation was housed in multiple locations, and is part of the larger fabric of Harlem’s history. It links the history of Harlem – the white community who built it in the early 1900s, and the white folk who are gentrifying it today. In between, the site tells the story of a people with several identities, both Black and Jewish. While many viewed them as a contradiction, the members of the Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Congregation considered themselves to be part of a larger historical narrative, interacting with the broader Jewish and Black communities as well as trying to cope amongst themselves.

Erecting the Building

John Dwight (August 1, 1819 – November 25, 1903), a manufacturer of bicarbonate soda (i.e. baking soda), was the patron of the building at 1 West 123rd...

Read More


Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation records. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.

Howard Brotz, The Black Jews of Harlem. 1964. 

Poet Takes On Massive Renovation of Historic Harlem Home

Tour of The Former Commandment Keepers Pillars Congregation

Michael Henry Adams.

Mount Morris Park Historic District Designation Report, November 3, 1971. 

Real Estate Record and Builders Guide, Nov 27, 1886.


Benjamin Akhavan

Nominated through Dr. Marta Gutman’s Race, Space and Architecture course, Spitzer School of Architecture, City College, New York, Fall 2017

Share This Listing

Place Matters is a project of:
Place Matters c/o City Lore
56 E. First Street
New York, NY 10003
© Place Matters. All Rights Reserved.
Website by Echo