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Angel Orensanz Cultural Foundation
|Location 172 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002, United States|
|Phone number +1 212-529-7194|
|Country United States|
|City New York|
|Open to visitors yes|
|Need appointment no|
|Handicap accessibility no|
|Geographical Coordinates 40.72114,-73.98574|
The Angel Orensanz Center (originally, Anshe Chesed Synagogue; also formerly known as the Norfolk Street Congregation and Anshe Slonim Synagogue) is located at 172 Norfolk Street (between Stanton Street and East Houston Street) on the Lower East Side of New York City, New York. It is housed in a Gothic Revival synagogue which was the largest synagogue in the United States at the time of its construction, and is one of the few built in Gothic Revival style. Currently, the Angel Orensanz Center operates as an Angel Orensanz’s studio as well as a center for the arts, providing a cultural and artistic place to encounter Angel’s creations.
History and time period
Built in 1849, for the Ansche Chesed Congregation (People of Kindness), the Angel Orensanz Center is the oldest surviving synagogue building in New York, and the fourth-oldest surviving synagogue building in the United States. The synagogue was built by the Reform Congregation Ansche Chesed (People of Kindness), a congregation of primarily comprising of German Jews that were the third Jewish congregation in New York City. The building was designed by Eisenach/Germany-born architect Alexander Saeltzer and was sold to the Shaari Rachmim Congregation (Gates of Mercy) in 1873, to the First Hungarian Congregation Ohab Zedek (To Love Righteousness) in 1886, and to the Sheveth Achim Anshe Slonim congregation in 1921, who used it until 1974. That year, the synagogue was abandoned, and it was later vandalized. Spanish sculptor and painter Angel Orensanz purchased the property in 1986. He restored it, and converted it into an art gallery and performance space known as the Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts. The building was designated as a historic landmark by New York City the following year. It has subsequently become home to the Shul of New York, a liberal Reform synagogue.