From the 1880’s through the 1920’s the area between Spruce and Christian Street and 2nd and 6th was the Philadelphia equivalent of New York’s famous Lower East Side. Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe created a vibrant community with its own Yiddish Theater, literary societies and newspapers, along with synagogues and banks, bath houses and delicatessens.
This walk begins at the former Rebecca Gratz Club, 532 Spruce Street, with an introduction to early Jewish life in the Philadelphia, and then continues to explore the rest of the “Jewish Quarter”, pointing out sites of former bathhouses, shuls, newspapers, theaters, stores, social service buildings, union halls, banks and hospitals, as well as the still-active Society Hill Synagogue and Congregation Bnai Abraham, and several businesses along Fabric Row. Hear about the dramatic Kosher butcher strike of 1911, the ongoing debate over the origin of the first hot-dog roll, and which short-lived local newspaper used to publish articles by Sholom Aleichem.
Meet in front of the Rebecca Gratz Club Apartments, 532 Spruce Street.
Questions, concerns, conundrums? Contact Hidden City project director Pete Woodall at 267-259-7112 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerry Silverman is a certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides. He earned a Bachelor of Hebrew Literature and a Master of Jewish Education, and has taught Hebrew and Judaica at numerous institutions including Gratz College. Jerry served as the High School principal of Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, NJ, as well as the Educational Director of Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel. Since 2009, Jerry has been giving tours as part of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, including developing a special Jewish-themed tour. He is a founding member of the Museum of American Jewish History and was on the boards of The Little Shul and Congregation Rodeph Shalom.