For the first half of the 20th century, the Brownsville area of Brooklyn, NY, was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood boasting many shuls. What follows is the beginning of a project to chronicle the rich history of the Brownsville Jewish community.

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Undeveloped Blake Ave, and 98th Street of Brownsville NY

Undeveloped Blake Ave, and 98th Street

Founded in 1858, the Brownsville community in Brooklyn, NY, was initially a settlement composed of Jewish factory workers .

Originally, the area that would become Brownsville was used by the Dutch for farming, as well as manufacturing stone slabs and other things used to construct buildings.

In 1858, certain development started to take place in the area. The land was auctioned off in 1866 to Charles S. Brown of Esopus, New York. Believing the area to be useful, Brown subdivided the area and began calling it "Brownsville," advertising the area's wide-open spaces to Jews who lived in lower Manhattan. There were 250 houses in "Brown's Village" by 1883, most of them occupied by factory workers who commuted to Manhattan.

The area underwent a major demographic change in the mid-20th century, with a heavy influx of African American and Latino residents.


Brownsville witnessed the development of one of the largest communities of Eastern European Jewish immigrants during the last decade of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th. Of the nearly two million Jews who migrated to the United States during that period from Eastern Europe, the overwhelming majority settled in New York City. Most of the newcomers established themselves in the Lower East Side, and when it became overcrowded, many took up residence elsewhere.

In the year 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge opened. Following this, the Williamsburg Bridge and Manhattan Bridge opened as well. In addition, the subway system - the IRT and BMT lines - was extended to reach into Brownsville. This enabled thousands of people from the east side of Manhattan to seek new homes in Brooklyn. The Jews spread over the face of the borough and converted mud roads into fine paved roads, and shacks into modern apartments.

The new influx from Manhattan started a migratory movement southward on the part of the Jews, first streaming into Williamsburg, and flowing into the neighboring neighborhoods. In the span of a few years, Brownsville became a thriving Jewish community.

Brownsville was predominantly Jewish from the late 1880s until the 1950s. In 1887, businessman Elias Kaplan showed the first Jewish residents around Brownsville, painting the area as favorable compared to the Lower East Side. Kaplan built a factory and accommodations for his workers, then placed a synagogue, named Ohev Sholom, in his own factory.

Other manufacturers that created low-tech products like food, furniture, and metals followed suit throughout the next decade, settling their factories in Brownsville. This led to much more housing being built there. The area quickly became densely populated, with factories, workshops, and stores located next to housing. Within three years of the first lot being distributed, there were 10,000 Jews living in Brownsville. By 1904, the lots comprising the former Vanderveer farm was entirely owned by Jews, who were spread out across 4 square miles (10 km) .

News clip about the Jewish court "Beis Din" of Brownsville

News clip about the Jewish court "Beis Din"

An estimated 25,000 people lived in Brownsville by 1900, most of whom lived in two-story wooden frame accommodations built for two families each.

By 1904, the area deteriorated. Many of these buildings were grossly overcrowded, with up to eight families living in some of these two-family houses. 22 of the 25 housing projects in Brownsville were tenement housing; three years later, only one of these 25 housing units was not a tenement. It became as dense as the very packed Lower East Side, according to one account.

In the early 20th century, the vast majority of Brownsville residents were born outside the United States; in 1910, 66% of the population were first-generation immigrants, and 80% of these immigrants were from Russia. By 1920, over 80,000 of the area's 100,000 inhabitants were from Eastern Europe, and Brownsville had been nicknamed "Little Jerusalem" or "Yerushalayim d'Amerika." In 1925, it was recorded that Brownsville represented the largest center of Jewish population in all of New York City.


Brownsville & East New York Hospital and Ambulances. In the Early 1900s

Brownsville & East New York Hospital & Aumbulances. Early 1900s

Yiddish was their common language, the mame loshen or mother tongue. It dominated the streets of the neighborhood at the turn of the century and for many years to come. Many Jews lived in Brownsville for decades without learning to speak English. With Yiddish spoken in the homes, Yiddish daily and weekly newspapers, signs and menus in Yiddish, Jewish shopkeepers, Jewish delicatessens, restaurants and bakeries selling Jewish dishes, there was little need to know English.

Yiddish news paper pushcart stand in the historic Brownsville Jewish community

Yiddish news papers

Brownsville continued to have the highest density of Jews of any place in the United States through the 1950s, and was an intensely Jewish world. The neighborhood boasted some 200 Orthodox shuls, and in spite of the fact that so many were no longer observant, in the 1930s and 1940s there was still a shul on almost every Brownsville street. Some of these shul buildings still exist in Brownsville, (albeit sadly as churches).

Religion was a cogent force in Brownsville - almost every Brownsville home had a mezuzah - even though a large group of anti-religionists resided in the community. Those who attended a shul went to an Orthodox shul. Shuls were a part of practically every Jewish institution: The Homes for the Aged, the day nurseries, the various Talmud Torahs, and the yeshivas. Besides the regularly constituted congregations, there were many minyanim conducted in the homes of rabbis, Hebrew teachers, or even in rented rooms.

Many of these shuls had boys clubs, where they would take boys off the streets and teach them Yiddishkeit. At times these shuls pulsated, especially when it came a time like Simchas Torah, where one writer reminisced the dramatic night of Simchas Torah night at the Young Israel of Brownsville.

The Young Israel of Brownsville that met for more than thirty years in the Hebrew Educational Society would fill the building to the point of overflowing for its Simchas Torah affairs, Sukkos parties, and other events. People would walk for blocks to attend some of the functions arranged in the beautiful Hebrew Educational Society's sukkah.

The Hapoel HaMizrachi on Hopkinson Avenue was known for its Shemini Atzeres gatherings, at which time it would invite the rabbis of the community as its guests.

United Talmud Torah School Picture. The history of Brownsville Jewish community

United Talmud Torah - Courtesy of Chaim Drizin.

A talmud Torah was established soon after the settlement of the Jews in Brownsville. The Hebrew Free School of Brownsville, popularly known later as the "Stone Avenue Talmud Torah," originated in 1892.  Among its founders and early supporters were H. Simon, Dr. I. Kaufman, H. Meyersohn, D. Rosenberg, Elias Kaplan, I. Cohen, Solomon Reuben, Simon Rose, Rabbi M. C. Rabinowitz, A. Volitsky, A. Belanofsky, S. Grally, Aaron Kaplan, Nathan Kovinsky, and I. Levingson. Until 1902, it met in a house on Thatford and Belmont Avenues. In that year it moved to a frame building at 386 Stone Avenue.

In this neighborhood, Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, one of the earliest chadarim in the country, was founded.

A majority of the shuls were organized by landsmanschaften, men originating from the same European town who assembled to fraternize with one another and to engage in common worship.

Many such organizations (chevros) were founded there and became not only the primary social agencies of the neighborhood, but also havens to thousands of the first generation of immigrants who affiliated with them. They provided a place of worship and study, and also met the immigrants' needs for comradeship, friendship, and fellowship. They were of great assistance in times of distress, offering sick benefits, free loans, cemetery rights, insurance, and a variety of other advantages.

Above all, these associations gave the newcomers in a strange land a sense of security, a feeling that behind them was a group ready to be helpful and to respond to a call in time of need.

Brownsville was also a place for radical political causes during this time. (more on it in the future)

There was a sense of cohesion in the community that had a good deal to do with . Brownsville was a kehillah, a . Each street seemed like a mini­community, a neighborhood in itself, . Each street had its grocer, its candy store, its pharmacist who took care of little bruises and scrapes and got things out of children's eyes. In spite of being so densely populated, Brownsville typified what sociologists call a gemeinschaft, a closely knit and intimate community.

On the Yiddishe yomim tovim, the public schools were practically unattended. Whether religiously observant or not, no children attended school on these days. The restaurants and bakeries served Jewish dishes.

One could tell the approach of the Shabbos by the aroma of Shabbos dishes being prepared by the Jewish housewives. As Friday night approached, the pushcarts left the streets and some of the stores began to close.

The hustle and bustle preceding Pesach and the Yomim Noraim announced their arrival long in advance. What youngster would go without a new suit on Pesach, or attend shul without a new hat on Rosh Hashanah? On Kol Nidre night, Pitkin Avenues's stores were all dark. The Avenue was the leading promenade, the Fifth Avenue for the entire community. It was a sight to behold!

As the community grew and the need for them arose, the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum and other Socail work were organized. A society to clothe the naked, the Malbish Arumim, was established in 1894. A year later, the Chesed Shel Emes Society was founded. It was a free burial society for poor people who had, despite the interventions of yet another organization, the Society for the Aid of the Indigent Sick, succumbed. Finally, an umbrella society, a "Jewish United Fund," the Brownsville Relief Hebrew Charity, was organized to supply coal, pay rent, and render other assistance. The Hebrew Free Loan Association was organized in 1901 to assist people in temporary financial straits, to aid those in need of cash to tide them over a dull business season, to acquire material or tools, and to help the small businessman establish himself.

Charitable organizations were particularly important to the women, who brought the old-world custom of gehen kleiben, house­to­house collections, to the neighborhood. It remained a common practice. All of the women recall the pushkes, charity collection boxes, which were to be seen in Jewish homes from these early days onward. The "sisterhoods" or women's auxiliaries of these organizations did the tedious legwork; the women were the ones on whom the burden of collection work fell.


Pitkin Avenue in the historic Brownsville NY Jewish community

Pitkin Avenue - oldnycphotos.com

The main thoroughfare was Pitkin Avenue. It ran for a mile through the heart of Brownsville and became for a time one of the most important shopping centers in Brooklyn. Hundreds of stores of every description lined its sidewalks, displaying every imaginable commodity in well-dressed show windows, serving as a combination of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Wall Street.

In 1942, there were 372 stores, including 8 banks and 43 stores selling menswear, along the stretch of Pitkin Avenue, which employed a combined 1,000 people and generated an estimated $90 million annually (equal to about $1,408,000,000 today if adjusted for inflation). The median income of $2,493 in 1933 (about $49,238 today) was twice that of a family living in the Lower East Side, who earned a median of $1,390 (about $27,453 today), but lower than that of a middle-class family in outer Brooklyn ($4,320, inflation-adjusted to $85,323) or the Bronx ($3,750, inflation-adjusted to $74,065).

On weekends and holidays Pitkin Avenue resembled Times Square. It was packed and vibrant, full of movement, excitement, and color. Thousands of shoppers, strollers, and loungers moved along the avenue, pausing to shop, listening to the arguments of speakers on the street corners, or just enjoying a promenade or rubbing shoulders with crowds of people.

Pushcart market on Belmont Ave. The rich history of the Brownsville NY Jewish community

Pushcart market on Belmont Ave - oldnycphotos.com

Not far away, and in striking contrast, was Belmont Avenue, with its market and its pungent blocks of pushcarts. The pushcart markets on Prospect Place and Blake Avenue were also familiar sights. Next to Belmont Avenue ran Rockaway Avenue with its areas of furniture stores, remaining a famous furniture mart to this day. Sutter Avenue, extending through Brownsville and East New York, one of the main shopping districts of East New York, was another main artery of the section, as were Pennsylvania, Stone, Fulton, and Atlantic Avenues.


In the 1940s and particularly the 1950s, there was a decline in the neighborhood, as the demographics of the population pivoted toward an African-American and Latino majority. In 1972, the last shul, on Stone Avenue, between Pitkin and Belmont, was burned by rioters and closed. Today, practically all synagogues alluded to have been razed to make room for housing projects, or have been converted for other uses. There is practically no remnant left of the proud and vibrant Jewish population that had once lived in this neighborhood.

Farbrengen in the Brownsville NY Jewish community

Yet, in the last few years, Brownsville has begun to see a rebirth of its Jewish character as a young Jewish community springs up on the streets that thronged with Jews 100 years earlier.

Purim children rally in the Brownsville NY Jewish community

A minyan was established with weekly prayers taking place on Friday night and Shabbos day, where the voices of Jewish prayer can be heard once again. After prayers, the men sit around the table saying l'chaim and wishing others life and prosperary, as they did a century earlier.

A weekly Torah class has been set up, where the Jewish men of Brownsville come together on a weekly bases sitting in front the books and studying the holy Torah.

For the first time since the '60s, the N'shei (Jewish women) of Brownsville, NY were invited to partake in events made especially for them.

Similar to days gone by, a crowd of over a hundred excited men, women, and children dance in the street as the crowd overflows the small shul on the night of Simchas Torah.

In 2019, on the fourth night of Chanukah, a crowd of 75 men, women and children watched as Rabbi Mendel Schtroks lit the menorah, and all broke into a rousing "Haneiros Halalu." The event climaxed with lively dancing, as the crowd reveled in the joy of Yiddishkeit and the spirit of Chanukah.

Who could have imagined they'd see the joyous dancing with the Torah or the lighting of the Menorah on the streets of Brownsville? After decades of darkness, Jewish life has returned to Brownsville!


Stone Avenue Talmud Torah

The Hebrew Free School of Brownsville, popularly known later as the "Stone Avenue Talmud Torah," originated in 1892. Until 1902, it met in a house on Thatford and Belmont Avenues. In that year it moved to a frame building at 386 Stone Avenue.

Tipheres Ha'gro

Until 1961, when it had to discontinue its activities because of changes in the neighborhood, the Tipheres Ha'gro at 405 Howard Avenue offered an intensive

Hebrew education to a large number of students. It was established in 1907 and was located at 1887 Prospect Place. In the 1930s, it had an enrollment of as many as 800 pupils, an annual budget of $45,000, and a staff of well-known teachers.

The lower classes received daily instruction for an hour and a half; the higher classes were taught three hours a day, and their instruction included the study of Gemara.

The school also had a beis midrash for adults with a daily minyan, and study groups in Gemara and other subjects, which were attended by a large adult group, and a junior congregation.

Tipheres Ha'gro building on Howard Ave. The History of Brownsville Jewish Community

Tipheres Ha'gro building on Howard Ave

Torah M'Tzion

Brownsville proper had another daily school, the Yeshivah Torah M'Tzion, which had a fine building at 628 Stone Avenue, founded in 1912. Four hundred and eighty students were in attendance in 1927. It later relocated to Canarsie, and is known now as the Seaview Jewish Center Yeshivah Torah M'Tzion.

Ateres Tipheres Yisrael Talmud Torah

Ateres Tipheres Yisrael Talmud Torah at 479 Ashford Street, popularly known as the Ashford Street Talmud Torah, was organized in 1913.

Hebrew School of the Hebrew Educational Society

Another was the Hebrew School of the Hebrew Educational Society. It has given instruction to hundreds of boys and girls through the past sixty-five years.

Yeshiva and Mesivta Torahs Chaim of Greater New York.

Under the guidance of Rabbi Isaac Shmidman, dean of Yeshiva and Mesivta Torahs Chaim of Greater New York, this school, located at 631 Belmont Avenue in East New York, had graduated hundreds of students well-versed both in rabbinic and secular learning. It was founded in 1926, but four years elapsed before the institution was fully organized. It has been able to provide each year Jewish and English education for 400 students under a well-trained staff. An elementary and high school department are maintained, as well as a number of extracurricular activities. Due to neighborhood changes, the school merged in 1965 with the Yeshiva of South Shore in Woodmere, Long Island.

Beis Yaakov

Beis Yaakov opened up in Brownsville, right across the street from Yeshivas Chaim Berlin, and it was one of the first Beis Yaakov's opened in America.

Beis Rivkah

This was also the place where the first branches of Beis Rivkah was founded.

Founded under the umbrella of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, Beth Rivkah welcomed its first class in a small house on Riverdale Road in East New York, Brooklyn. Over the next few years, branches popped up all over the U.S.

As the school grew, it changed locations, and from Riverdale Avenue it moved to occupy the second floor of a synagogue on Stone Avenue in Brownsville. When demographic changes in the neighborhood made it too unsafe for the girls' school to remain there, a suitable building was found on Church Avenue and Bedford - the former Yeshiva University High School of Brooklyn building - where the school moved in 1967.

Beis Rivkah school picture - History of Brownsville Jewish community

Beis Rivkah

Yeshivas Chaim Berlin (elementary)

The school was established in 1904, first in a store front on Sutter Avenue, and then on Chester Street. Next, it moved to its own building at 1899 Prospect Place. It was established by Jews who moved to Brownsville from the Lower East Side of New York City, thus making it the oldest yeshiva in Kings County. It began with the name Yeshiva Tiferes Bachurim, then at the suggestion of Meir Berlin (Bar-Ilan), it was renamed for his brother, Chaim Berlin, a rabbi who served in Valozhin, the place where some of the yeshiva's founders were from.

Jewish studies were taught in from 9 o'clock in the morning until 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and secular subjects from 3 to 7 o'clock in the evening. The Jewish curriculum, amassing 10,000 hours of instruction during its 7-year period, was patently much more ambitious than the curriculum of the weekday schools, encompassing about 2,600 hours of instruction.

Mesivta R'Chaim Berlin

In 1935, some of the parents and board members of Yeshivas Chaim Berlin got together to open a high school for their graduating students. After much back and forth, it was decided that Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner, who recently came to America, would be the rosh yeshiva.

The Mesivta R' Chaim Berlin started on a small scale in the building of the Stone Avenue Talmud Torah. In 1940, the Mesivta purchased the building on 350 Stone Avenue, formerly occupied by the Municipal Bank, and refurbished it with dormitories and other facilities.

Hundreds of students from the community and other parts of the country and the world came to study there. Many have graduated as rabbis, occupying positions in various Jewish communities. Others have entered the professions.

The school remained in Brownsville until the fall of 1963, when it moved to its new quarters at 899 Winthrop Street in East Flatbush. In 1964, it relocated its quarters to Far Rockaway. A few years later, it moved to Flatbush.

the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin building on prospect place - The rich history of Brownsville Jewish community

Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin building on Prospect Place

United Jewish Day Schools

A daily Judaic afterschool program established in 1960 by Rabbi Mendel Drizin A"H, for local Jewish public school children, the program was held in local Shuls till the mid 60's when the demographics of the neighborhood changed.

Oholei Torah

Oholei Torah was first established in Brownsville on Strauss St. with only two students learning in the basement of "The Douglass Ave. Shtible" as it was called then. Slowly the yeshiva grew and moved around to different locations.

Today, the school has grown to be the flagship educational system of Chabad, with of the Chabad shluchim graduating from them.


After the organization of the Ohev Shalom shul, a second congregation, Chevra Torah, was established in 1887, by a small group of learned Jews. In time, a number of large synagogues grew out of this organization, bearing the same name of Chevra Torah.

This led to some controversy, but subsequently the other congregations assumed different names or merged with other congregations. Thus came about the establishment of the largest shuls: Beis Hamidrash Hagadol on Sackman Street, the Etz Chaim Machzikei Ha-Rav, on Stone Avenue, Chevra Torah Anshei Hesed on Strauss Street, and Chevra Torah Anshei Radeshkowitz on Amboy Street. The Chevra Torah Anshei Radeshkowitz constructed a large, beautiful synagogue on Amboy Street near Sutter Avenue


  • Congregation Adath Yeshurun, 1403 Eastern Parkway at Lincoln Place, Brownsville
  • Congregation Agudas Achim Ansche Bobruisk, 729 Saratoga Avenue, Brownsville
  • Agudath Achim Anshei David Horodok, 855 Saratoga Avenue, Brownsville
  • Congregation Ahavas Achim B'nai Abraham, 394-396 Logan Street, East New York
  • Ahavath Achim Anshei Brownsville, 105 Riverdale Avenue, Brownsville
  • Congregation Ahavas Achim of East Flatbush, 203 East 37th Street, East Flatbush
  • Congregation Ahavath Chesed Day Nursery, 394 Hendrix Street, East New York
  • Ahavath Israel, 760 Sackman Street, East New York/New Lots
  • Ahavath Reyim, 209 Rochester Avenue, Northern Crown Heights
  • Anshei Azaritz/Azaritz Young Friends, 885-887 Thomas Boyland (Hopkinson) Street, Brownsville
  • Anshei Krashnik of East New York Nusach Sfard, 473 Vermont Street, East New York
  • Congregation Beth Abraham, 770 Howard Avenue near Livonia Avenue, Brownsville
  • Beth Hemidrash Hagadol, 611 Williams Street, East New York/New Lots
  • Congregation Beth Israel, 771 Sackman Street, Brownsville
  • B'nai Israel Jewish Center, 9517 Kings Highway, East Flatbush/Brownsville border
  • Chevra Ahavath Israel Anshei Ostrolenker, 375 Bristol Street, Brownsville
  • Chevra Poelei Tzedek Anschei Glubucker of Brownsville, 167-169 Chester Street, Brownsville
  • Congregation Chevra Tehillim Nusach Ashkenaz, 511 Elton Street, East New York
  • Chevra Torah Anshei Radishkowitz, 135-139 Amboy Street, Brownsville
  • Chevre Anshei Zedek/ Talmud Torah Anshei Zedek of East New York, 308-310 Atkins Avenue, East New York
  • Congregation Dorshe Tov Anshei New Lots, 21 Louisiana Avenue, New Lots
  • Congregation Eliezer of East New York, 133 Hinsdale Street, East New York
  • Etz Chaim Machzikei Hadath, 1477 Lincoln Place, Brownsville
  • H.E.S. (Hebrew Educational Society), Thomas Boyland (Hopkinson) Street at Sutter Avenue, Brownsville
  • Hebrew Ladies Day Nursery, 521 Thomas Boyland Street, Brownsville
  • Hessed Ve Emeth Society of Castorialis, 69-71 Malta Street, East New York
  • Independent Chevra Sphard of Perryslaw, 247 Snediker Avenue, East New York
  • Congregation Independent Esrath (or Ezrath) Achim, 144 Newport Street, Brownsville
  • Congregation Kachlow Israel, 220-222 Hegeman Avenue, Brownsville-East New York
  • Kenesseth Israel Beth Jacob, 35 Blake Avenue, Brownsville
  • Men of Justice, 1676-1678 Park Place, Brownsville/East New York
  • New Hebrew School of Brooklyn/ Bnos Israel Malbush Arumim, 146 Stockton Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant
  • New Lots Talmud Torah, 330-370 New Lots Avenue at Pennsylvania Ave., East New York
  • Ohev Shalom (Bais Harav Midrash Eliyahu Anshei Charney), 744 Dumont Avenue, East New York
  • The Parkway Theater, 1768 St. John's Place, Brownsville
  • Congregation Petach Tikvah, 261 Rochester Avenue, Crown Heights
  • Petrikower Anshe Sfard of Brownsville, 493 Herzl Street, Brownsville
  • Sheveth Achim, 276 Buffalo Avenue, Brownsville
  • The Little Temple Beth Jacob, 285 Buffalo Avenue, Brownsville
  • Young Israel of Brownsville and East Flatbush, 1091 Winthrop Street at East 94th Street, East Flatbush-Brownsville


  • The Monistritcher Rebbe
  • Rabbi Menachem Mendel Leib Rubin Rav, Congregation Agudath Achim Anshei Libowitz of Brownsville
  • Reb Yisroel Jacobson. Rav of Anshei Babruisk, a nusach Ari shul in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
  • Rabbi Menachem Leib Lokshin Rav, Chevrah Agudath Chabad, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Moshe Chaim Rabinowitz for forty-two years Rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim Machzikei Ha-Rav,
  • Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Dachowitz Rav Congregation Agudath Achim Anshei Libowitz, Brooklyn, NY
  • Rabbi Ben Tzion Eisenstadt, author of the biographical dictionary, Dor Rabbanov ve-Saferov.
  • Rabbis Yakov Levinson and Meyer Pam of Beth Hamidrash Hagodol,
  • Rabbis I. Isaacson and Lipman Levine of Agudas Achim Anshei New Lots,
  • Rabbi Nisim Telushkin for many years head of the Rabbinical Board of Brownsville and Mechaber of Taharas Mayim,
  • Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Braun,
  • Rabbi Dovid B. Appelman of Chevra Tehillim Keser Yisrael, 256 Thatford Avenue,
  • Rabbi Yehoshua Heshel Gorchicoff of Anshei Zedek, 1760 Park Place,
  • Rabbi D. D. Weitzman of CHevra Torah Anshei Hesed, known as the Strauss Street Shul,
  • Rabbi Isaac Sadin of Alabama Street Shul
  • Rabbi Mordechai Waxman Rav, Bais Medrash HaGadol of Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Dovid Rodinsky Rav, Bais Medrash HaGadol of Brownsville, a founding member of the Agudath HaRabonim
  • Rabbi Avroham Yaakov Koplowitz Rav, Bais Medrash HaGadol of Brownsville
  • Rabbi Yisroel Isaacson Rav, Bais Medrash HaGadol of Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York
  • Rabbi Yaakov Levinson Rav, Congregation Ohel Moshe Chevra Thilim, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Meir Mairim Magnes Rav, Congregation Adas Yeshurun, Brownsville, Brooklyn he was general secretary of the Mizrachi Organization of America in the mid-late 1920s as well as the director of RIETS in the early 1930s.
  • Rabbi Meir Zanvil Pam Rav, Bais Hamedrash HaGadol of Brownsville, father of Rav Avrohom Pam the Rosh Yeshiva of Torah vo'Daas
  • Rabbi Moshe Shmuel Shapiro Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, He published Toldos R' Chaim M'voloshin
  • Rabbi Raphael Safsel Rav, Chevra Ein Yaakov Anshe B'ville, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Yeshaya Yosef Margolin Rav, New York City
  • Rabbi Shalom Rubin Rav, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Baruch Marshak Rav, Congregation Chevra Shas of Brownsville
  • Rabbi Menachem Risikoff Rav, Congregation Ohev Shalom, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Stein Rosh Yeshiva Chaim Berlin , Brownsville, NY
  • Rabbi Matisyahu Yaakov Laks Rav, Congregation B'nai Yaakov, Brownsville
  • Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Okrongly Ben Zev Rav, Chevra Ein Yaakov Anshei Skolya, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Menachem Sheiman Rav, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Aryeh Leib Wolowsky Rav, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Gedalya Yosef Bernstein Rav, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Michael Seidel Rav, Brownsville Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Shalom Binyamin Kostrinsky Rav, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rav Zlatalov was from Lomza, Poland he served as Rabbi in South Bend, Indiana before he came to NY where he did not serve as a Rabbi but he gave a Shiur in the Rayim Ahuvim shul in Brownsville, Brooklyn,
  • Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Shapiro Rav, Chevrah Tehillim, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Rabinowitz Rav, Congregation Anshe Torath Chesed v'Zichro Torath Moshe
  • Rabbi Aaron Shlomo Bockstein Rav, New York City
  • Rabbi Chaim Isaac Reiter Member, Agudath HaRabonim, Rabbi in the Home for the aged in the Brownsville.
  • Rabbi Aaron Agrovsky Rav, Chevra Mishnayos Eitz Chaim, The Rav was associated with a number of congregations throughout Brownsville.
  • Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Shur Rav, Chevra Ein Yaakov Anshe B'ville, Brownsville
  • Rabbi Mordecai Aryeh Haberman Rav, Machzekei Hadas of Brownsville
  • Rabbi Yaakov Haberman Rav, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Avroham Yaakov Brill Rav, Congregation Anshei Lubavitch, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Shimon Mordechai Weinstein Maggid Shiur, Congregation Anshe Torath Chesed v'Zichro Torath
  • Rabbi Chaim Levine Rav, Talmud Torah Etz Chayim v'Chevre Ein Jacob
  • Rabbi Moshe Binyamin Tomashoff Rav, Chevra Beth Israel, Brownsville, founder and co-editor Yagdil Torah, a monthly journal on Hebrew law. President of the Rabbinical Board of Brownsville and East New York (1935-1960), and was honorary chairman and former vice president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis (Agudas Harabbonim) of the United States and Canada.
  • Rabbi Moshe Chaim Rabinowitz Rav, Congregation Etz Chaim of Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Moshe Rosen rav of Khal Anshei Radishkovitz, He later founded his own beis medrash, which, was subsequently relocated to Far Rockaway. Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas the Neizer Hakodesh would test (farher) the talmidim of Yeshivah Chayim Berlin. Decades later, he was also involved in the organization of the yeshivah Beis Hatalmud of Bensonhurst and of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood.
  • Rabbi Shimon Yitzchok Finkelstein Rav, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Samuel Elkin Rav Etz Chaim Shul on Stone and Sutter Avenues.
  • Rabbi Yisrael Jacobsen Rav of Bobroisk Synagogue on Christopher Street.
  • Rabbi Avoham Nachum Meyerowitz Rav, Chevra Machzika Torah, Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Dovid Leib Kozlowitz Rav, Brownsville, Brooklyn he served various congregations
  • Rav Levovitz Yeshiva Yeshivas Rav Hirsh Leib Berlin.
  • Rabbi Menashe Horowitz Zseliner Rav (Rayim Ahuvim Shul) Brownsville, Brooklyn
  • Rabbi Avroham Kalplan President, Stone Avenue Talmud Torah, Brownsville, he also hped founding the Brownsville Hospital. Beth-el
  • Rabbi Chaim Meshulom Feivish Langner Stretiner Rebbe of Brownsville
  • Rabbi Baruch Avroham Wolinski Founder, Congregation Chevra Torah, Brownsville, Brooklyn

Many of the names that appear here are from Kevarim.com

Note: being that Brownsville had many Shuls with many Rabbi's over the course of some generations, we bring here a long list of Rabbonim, however there were many more great Rabbi's that all gave their contribution to shape Brownsville to the neighborhood that it was which have not been mentioned here. If you know of any more names or more details about their life please message us


Many Brownsville youths, continued to pursue their studies in these higher institutions of learning. On graduation, some entered the rabbinate, others went into the field of Jewish education and kindred vocations, while a large number chose a business career or one of the professions.

Here we bring a list of many of great Rabbi's that grew up in Brownsville

  • Rabbi Joseph Hyman Lookstein - of Congregation Kehillath Jeshurun of New York, a leading rabbi and educator, professor of homiletics and Jewish sociology at the Yeshivah University, chancellor of the Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Israel, a past president of the Rabbinical Council of America and of the New York Board of Rabbis.
  • Rabbi Herschel Schacter - Chairman of the Presidents' Conference and President of the Religious Zionists of America;
  • Rabbi Paul Levovitz is president of the Rabbinical Council of America;
  • Rabbi Gilbert Klaperman;
  • Rabbi Alexander Linchner head of Boystown in Jerusalem;
  • Rabbi Avraham B. Hecht is a former president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America;
  • Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Groner Rav Melbourne Australia.
  • Rabbi Yehuda Leib Groner secretary of the Lubavitcher Rabbe.
  • Rabbi Leon Gewirtz, has served for many years in Wilmington, Delaware;
  • Rabbi Ephraim Shimoff of Congregation Beth El, Astoria, president of the Religions Zionists of Greater New York;
  • Rabbi Milton Furst Assistant to the Dean at Yeshiva University;
  • Rabbi Henry Seigman executive vice-president of the Synagogue Council of America,
  • Rabbi Ephraim Sturm National Director of the National Council of Young Israel.
  • Rabbi Morris Appleman.
  • Rabbi Abraham J. Appleman.
  • Rabbi Hyman Appleman.
  • Rabbi Aaron B. Dachowitz.
  • Rabbi Pincus Dachowitz.
  • Rabbi Louis Dunn Samuel.
  • Rabbi Fink Meyer Edelstein.
  • Rabbi Meir Felman Aryeh Leib Gottlieb.
  • Rabbi Abraham Halbfinger.
  • Rabbi Hyman Heifetz.
  • Rabbi Harold Kanatofsky.
  • Rabbi Mendell Lewittes.
  • Rabbi Jacob I. Nislick.
  • Rabbi Chaim Abraham.
  • Rabbi Pincus Nathan Rosen.
  • Rabbi Paul Rosenfeld.
  • Rabbi Joseph Shapiro.
  • Rabbi Norman J. Strisower.
  • Rabbi Leon Weingrowsky.
  • Rabbi Israel Yavne.
  • Rabbi Joseph Kaminetsky, National Director of Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, is greatly responsible for the rapid development in this country of the all- day schools among the Orthodox Jews in recent years. In these schools the children study religious subjects in the morning and the secular subjects in the afternoon.
    Many former Brownsvillites were the heads of Hebrew Day Schools. These include among others
  • Rabbi Hirsch Diskind, head of Bais Yaakov of Baltimore;
  • Rabbi Seymour Gewirtz, chief rabbi and head of the Day School, Waterbury, Connecticut;
  • Rabbi Paul Goldberg, Principal of the Yeshiva Academy of Harrisburg, Pa.;
  • Rabbi Joshua Goodman, Principal of Bais Yaakov in Chicago;
  • Rabbi Moshe I. Hecht, Principal of the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in New Haven, Conn.;
  • Rabbi JJ Hecht Rav in East Fatbush, Head of East Flatbush Rabbinical alliance, National head of NCFJE.
  • Rabbi Ephraim Kamin, Principal of the Lower School of HILI in Far Rockaway;
  • Rabbi Nathan Kapner, Hillel Hebrew Academy and Synagogue, Massapequa, Long Island;
  • Rabbi Mannes Mandel, Principal of the Yeshiva of Brooklyn;
  • Rabbi Joseph Nayowitz, Principal of the Yavneh Academy, Paterson, New Jersey;
  • Rabbi Eliezer Portnoy, head of the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin;
  • Rabbi Isaac Shmidman of the Yeshiva Toras Chaim in Hewlett, Long Island
  • Rabbi Morris Shmidman, head of the Hebrew Academy of the Shore Area in Wanamassa, New Jersey;
  • Rabbi Joseph Rosenfeld Executive director Educational institute Oholei Torah.
  • Rabbi David Twersky, head of the Hillel Academy in Perth Amboy, New Jersey;
  • Rabbi Nathan Wadler, Principal of the English Department of the Lubavitcher Yeshivos;
  • Rabbi Morris Besdin, Director, James Striar School of General Studies
  • Rabbi London of the Hechel Torah.