August 12, 2020 Great American Jewish Cities #15: The Five Towns
Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Hewlett, Inwood. Somehow the individual names come together to form the larger Jewish community of the Five Towns. Historically an upscale suburban area that boasted country clubs and golf courses that didn't welcome Jews, the demographics began to change in the post war.
Shuls like Beth Shalom, Young Israel of Woodmere, Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst were formed over time. They were led by pioneering Rabbis like Rabbis Gil Klaperman, Shya Lebor, Nochum Tzvi Kornmehl and many others. With the arrival of Rav Binyamin Kamenetsky in 1956 and the founding of the Yeshiva of South Shore, Jewish education was ensured a future in the Five Towns.
Of course eating is an important component of Jewish life in the region, and Central Avenue would become the home of a variety of famous eateries. Colorful personalities, philanthropists, politicians and activists all called the Five Towns home, and we'll meet some of them on this Jewish history journey into Long Island.
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