Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

The Jews and the Brooklyn Bridge


The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by an architectural firm owned by John Augustus Roebling who, though a Lutheran, was descended from Sephardic Jews who had migrated to Germany from Spain.

Soon after the bridge opened, Jews began an annual tradition of walking across it on Rosh Hashanah to recite Tashlich; also exhibited with this column is a photograph taken at the turn of the 19th century depicting Jews reciting Tashlich from the bridge and a Rosh Hashanah card, circa 1901, illustrating a Tashlich ceremony at the foot of the bridge. Jews performing tashlich at the East River below the Brooklyn Bridge- The ritual of purification performed at a large, natural body of flowing water during the Jewish New Year 18

Tashlich Prayer ceremony recited during the days of awe (the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) recited alongside a body of running water. It symbolizes one’s casting away their previous year’s sins at a flowing body of water of which the East River qualifies..

On March 1, 1994, on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, Lebanese-born immigrant Rashid Baz shot at a van of 15 Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox Jewish students that were traveling on the Brooklyn Bridge, killing one and injuring three others. In 1999, the Justice Department did formally reclassify the incident as an act of terrorism. In his confession in 2007, Baz said, “I only shot them because they were Jewish.” A span of the Brooklyn Bridge was renamed the Halberstam in memorial for the family.

Title: Jews – New York City – praying on Brooklyn Bridge [i.e., Williamsburg Bridge], New Year’s Day, published 1909.

For more information, see “The Jewish Connection To The Brooklyn Bridge” By Saul Jay Singer, The Jewish Press, November 6, 2015.

NYC Walks Blog 45 The Jews and the Brooklyn Bridge © 2018 by Dr. Philip Ernest Schoenberg


  • Posted in: