Our Unique History

Though we are currently located on the near north side of downtown Chicago, our roots go back to the immigration era of Chicago, to the south side where many Jews first congregated. And like the Jewish people, Central Synagogue, originally named The South Side Hebrew Congregation, has a distinctive persevering history and a somewhat nomadic journey.

Our Synagogue was established in 1888 in the neighborhood where the Chicago White Sox now play baseball. The congregation followed the Jewish community further south during the depression and relocated to an emerging Jewish neighborhood near 73rd and Chapel Blvd. called South Shore. It became one of the largest Conservative synagogues in Chicago in the post World War II era. The buildings were each crafted with adornments distinctive of the era. When the entire Jewish community left South Shore the congregation relocated to the Near North side in the early 1970's. We had a few homes along the way, then for many years found refuge in the Sinai building at 15 W. Delaware Pl., hidden away on the 3rd floor of this Reform neighborhood congregation. We turned into the "best kept secret" scenario for over a decade. Then in February of 2009 Central Synagogue moved to our now current home in Water Tower Place, which we had previously been renting out for the High Holy Days.

Holding a special place in our history is a Torah Pointer, donated by original founding member and his wife, Louis Greilsheim on January 14, 1910. We hold all these ties close to our hearts and are proud to have such a rich history. We have many Alumni who frequently search for us and are delighted to be in touch with them and are continually extracting insights about our journey of yesteryear.

If you are an alum, we enjoy collecting memories so please drop us a line! Synagogue Alumni Share Here

We are looking forward to 2014/5774 which is our 125th anniversary and
will have special programs throughout the year to commemorate this special occasion.