Conservative Judaism Globalization International Relations

United Synagogue Moves to New Digs and Gets Some International Neighbors

Rapaport House - 155 Fifth Avenue - Manhattan - Rabbi Jason Miller's BlogIn December 2006, I was one of the first to post about the announced sale of the headquarters building for United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), the congregational arm of Conservative Judaism worldwide. Well, now it has been reported that USCJ sold the Rapaport House (155 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan) for $26.5 million and acquired new headquarters on two floors at 820 Second Avenue. I’m sure this was quite a return on investment for United Synagogue since it acquired 155 Fifth Avenue (pictured) some three decades ago.

USCJ plans to move into its new location in early 2008, but what is most interesting is who its neighbors in the building will be. The article at lists both Trinidad & Tobago‘s and Peru‘s permanent missions to the UN as well as the government of Croatia. I did a quick web search, however, and also learned that the permanent missions to the UN for Nepal, Nicaragua, Micronesia, Korea, Liberia, and Madagascar also rent space in this building. And, as if that’s not enough global representation to make things interesting, Syria‘s UN mission is also based in the building. In fact, there have been numerous rallies in front of this building demanding that Syria release Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit.

Furthermore, the United Nations Federal Credit Union now occupies floors 10 and 11 — the two floors that will soon be USCJ’s home, so the UN will become United Synagogue’s temporary tenant until it relocates.

So not only will the international leaders of Conservative Judaism be sharing their elevator rides with the Peruvian ambassador (USY Peru/Israel Pilgrimage anyone?), they will also be the landlord to the United Nations’ Bank. Interesting!

And I hear there’s also a strong possibility that the Syrian Arab Republic can use United Synagogue’s restroom key on all Jewish holidays when USCJ’s offices are closed (sounds like an even trade if Israel can keep the Golan Heights). This could be the first step toward peace in the Middle East. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in that lobby.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | | Twitter: @RabbiJason |