Walk along Lenox Avenue in the heart of Harlem on a Sunday morning, pass the Mt. Olivet Church and you’ll hear the gospel choir singing passionately, worshippers and gospel-lovers streaming into the church in their Sunday best.
But look up, toward the top of the towering Grecian columns, and you’ll find Stars of David.
Built in 1907, this church was once the prestigious Temple Israel, led by Rabbi Dr. Maurice Harris. The congregation was initially Orthodox but over the decades became Reform under the rabbi’s leadership. The doors of the Torah ark are still there, but behind them now is a baptismal pool. A balcony, once the women’s section, now offers a second tier of seating. In 1920 the congregation moved, together with most of its families, to a new building on the Upper West Side.