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Sunnyside Jewish Center Officially Opens at New Location

Photo: QueensPost

Sept. 18, 2012 By Christian Murray

The Sunnyside Jewish Center held its first service in its new synagogue on Sunday evening.

Jerry Banberger, the president of the center, said it was fitting that the synagogue opened on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. “Rosh Hashanah represents the Jewish new year– a time for a new start, a new beginning. This is [the temple’s] start.”

In the past, members of the Sunnyside Jewish Center held their High Holiday services at Sunnyside Community Center. However, “nothing beats having your own place.”

The new synagogue, which is located inside a two-family house at 40-20 47th Ave, has taken several years to open. The members purchased the 2,000sqf. residence for $890,000 about six years ago, and since then it has been completely overhauled. Today, there is an elevator for wheel chair access and several stain glass windows have been installed.

The new temple replaces the large synagogue at 45-46 42nd Street, which was several times its size and had been located there since 1939.  The members struggled to keep up with the high costs at that location, as their numbers declined.  Many younger Jews left to live in the suburbs, while the older members passed away.

The synagogue was sold to real estate developers for $4.95 million. About $2 million of those proceeds has been spent on the new location.

Today there are about 50 members of the Sunnyside Jewish Center.  The aim of the new synagogue is to revitalize the Jewish community, as Banberger hopes to attract young families.  He is planning on introducing a Hebrew School program for children.

The house’s former basement is now a prayer room, while upstairs there is the sanctuary. The sanctuary caters for about 75 attendees.

Many of the features of the old synagogue have been incorporated into this one – such as a giant Menorah, the sanctuary’s wooden seating (benches), and plaques with the names of deceased members, which are on the walls.

Jerry Banberger inside the synagogue

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Jerry Banberger

Thanks for your “insightful” comment, Rikki. When we purchased the building (3/06), the price was in line with comparable sales in the neighborhood. Since we were fresh out of crystal ball polish, we could not foresee the devaluation in real estate. There’s nothing like 20/20 hind sight! As far as cost of renovation is concerned, when a building is converted from a residence to a public use space, there are issues which need to be attended to, such as compliance with requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act


$890,000 wow did they got screwed….the owner is laughing his azzz off all the way to the bank…..

Thats the housing bubble…should have never gone higher then $450K


Mazel Tov! Many years of filling the seats “to the rafters”.

Many, many congrats to Jerry Banberger. He worked tirelessly for years on the project and greatly sacrificed social life, personal time and business opportunities to see this through. There’s a place in heaven for those who build a “Bait Tephela” (House of Prayer) where God dwells.


I’ve been there, and yes the street entrance view looks amazing, as does the interior. The picture that was published does not do the new Center justice.

Good job to all. Your hard work shows. Happy new year.

Carey & Judith

Congratulations to the Sunnyside Jewish centre .
We both live in Melbourne Australia and have heard about the struggles of the synagogue since day one of the new construction .
A big hello to Jerry Banberger who we have known for a number of years and who has worked ever so hard to make it a reality .

God bless you all .

P & B

Congrats Jerry on all your hardwork! It looks like a job well done in the interior. I know you spent many years on this project. I’m happy to see it finally completed. Many well wishes and happy holidays!

Ingrid and Jimmie (your old LIC neighbors)


I enjoy seeing the Menorah lit up every night as it’s right across from my kitchen and bedroom.
And thank you Jerry for not requesting a no-parking zone on 41st Street.
Not that there’s really any place to park on the mess that is 41st Street now. I’m surprised that the Sunnyside Post hasn’t reported on this debacle yet. We’ve been under construction and with significant loss of parking for close to two months now.

Jerry Banberger

More replies…
@108Cops – I can discuss how we got to where we were, but prefer not to dwell on the past, and instead look forward to a bright future in our new home, which has been rebuilt from the inside out.

@Marilyn – Please see comment from Preschool teacher (above)

@CelticParker – Yes, to Sukkot. Please join us for Shabbat Shuva at 9 AM and pick up a schedule.

Again, thanks to all for your comments


Will there be services on Sukkot this year? Regular Shabbat services (by which I really mean Sat. morning)? If so, what time?


I’m pleased to hear this good news for the Jewish community. Happy New Year to all.

Name and address of good bagel place, please?


Marilyn S.

Oppressed Masses

Is there a time and date when it would be convenient for non-Jewish individuals to stop by and say hello?

Preschool Teacher

It looks beautiful!! Mazel tov and Happy New Year!

(And for the record, we have a decent bagel place on Queens Blvd right off 44th St. It’s laid out badly, but the bagels are awesome and cheap!)

108 Cops

I moved into the neighborhood many years ago across the street from the former one and saw the last building just fall apart for several years while it was still being used, it is really terrible when people don’t maintain buildings. Hope this one is maintained better. Sorry I don’t mean to be disrespectful but was not fair to the neighborhood to let a building go like that.


This is wonderful news for Sunnyside and I wish everyone in the congregation all the best. L’chaim and Happy New Year.

Jerry Banberger

Thank you, Sunnyside Post, for a lovely article. Those interested in additional information can call (718)784-7055.
@Linz- an email is on its way to you.
@Krissi- I don’t know what we can do about the bagel situation, but we will try 😉
@ich-bin-ein-Sunnysider – There is already a No Stopping Zone on the 47th Ave side, and asking for “no parking” in front of our Sanctuary entrance on 41st Street might create a problem with parking spaces that are already at a premium.
@Pastor Estella – It would be a pleasure to meet with you, and show you our new home.
@Elizabeth – Although I am a pet lover, I personally believe pets at our Services would serve as a distraction. The question will be raised at our next Board meeting and we’ll get back to you.

Thanks to all, for your well wishes!

Irving Douglas Estella

Congratulations and best wishes for the years to come! As the former Pastor of the Sunnyside Reformed Church (2001-2006), I was warmly welcomed to the community by your then Rabbi Irwin Albert upon my arrival here. I would love to stop by and visit sometime.


The side view of the temple is much prettier plus it is the entrance to the temple as well… i wish the picture taken was from the street side rather than the ave side… but eveyone goes and visit this beautiil new building… the design or arhicture is exellent.. plus the inside was done beautiuflly…it is breathtaking… it looks nicer on the inside… we must all come and pray and join…


Congrats to JerryBamburger and to the Hubert Brothers and others who were involved in gettting our temple done and all the years of hard work involved… a huge MAZEL TOV … now let get started with the prgrmas that our community needs to get our jewish comminity thriving again

A hearty ” Welcome Home” to jewish people who have Yom Kipper next tues nite with a beautiful” Kolnidre” service

Welcome one and all.. to our new home..


Will they be getting a no parking zone out front like all the other churches in the neighborhood?


The addresses in the story should be corrected. The same address is used for both the original location (correct, I believe) and the new one (incorrect).


It does look really nice. Congrats to Mr. Banberger and good luck with everything for his whole congregation!

Oh, and if you don’t mind, if you could also bring some decent bagels to the neighborhood, I’d really appreciate it 🙂


ברוך הבא
We’ve been watching the construction at the site since we first moved in across the street 16 months ago, and are very happy to finally welcome our new neighbors. We’ll keep an eye out for you when you’re not there.


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