The Little Shul is the last traditional synagogue that remains of one of the largest and oldest Jewish populations in the United States. There were over 150 row-house Shuls like it in the South Philadelphia neighborhoods. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, South Philadelphia became the destination for thousands of Eastern European Jews.
Congregation Shivtei Yeshuron Ezras Israel in South Philadelphia was founded in 1876 and chartered in 1892. The congregation moved into its current building in 1909 where it continues to hold services. The congregation survived by virtue of several mergers. In 1961, Shivtei Yeshuron combined with Mishkan Israel and Raim Ahuvim Anshe Kalker. Our Shul houses the memorial plaques dating back to the 1880’s.
Our Little Shul stands out from other row homes on the block because of its pillared entrance. The walls, made of tin, are adorned with tapestries and memorial boards honoring synagogue members. The shelves are stocked with old Hebrew artifacts and relics. Many of the prayer books date to the 1800s.
Exciting things are happening at The Little Shul. For the first time in forty years, we now have a Board of Directors and a set of Bylaws. We now have a consistent growing membership of individuals and families. We are presently in the first stages of a major renovation on the second floor for events.
The Little Shul has opened its doors for use as a unique community space. We have recently received a grant from the City of Philadelphia for community education and arts. These funds will be used to continue having special performances, speakers, concerts, and tours. A Sabbath service is held the first Saturday of each month at 10:00 A.M. followed by a traditional Kiddish and learning, and is open to the public.
All are welcome. Please join us!