Ansche Chesed is a synagogue on the Upper West Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan. The congregation was founded in 1828 by a group of German, Dutch and Polish Jews who split off from Congregation B'nai Jeshurun. By the time the congregation erected the building on Norfolk Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side that is now the Angel Orensanz Center in 1850, there had been further secessions and the congregation was composed of immigrants from Germany.
Ansche Chesed is an egalitarian, participatory Conservative synagogue. In addition to its historic sanctuary, the congregation has a multi-story building with many classrooms and several event spaces. This makes it possible for multiple activities to take place in the building throughout the week, as well as for several minyanim to meet within the congregation. The minyanim include:
- Sanctuary Service
- Minyan Ma'at
- Minyan Rimonim
- West Side Minyan
Ansche Chesed's Sanctuary Service is the minyan that directly continues the historical congregation of Ansche Chesed; its name derives from the fact that it holds its services in the synagogue's sanctuary. This service follows the traditional Conservative liturgy (including full Torah reading and Haftarah and Musaf service). Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky delivers Divrei Torah (comments and explanations on the weekly Torah portion) several times a month and offers weekly comments on various aspects of the service. Cantor Natasha J. Hirschhorn leads the sung portion of the service, and is also Ansche Chesed's music director. Lay members of the congregation also participate actively in all facets of the service.
Ansche Chesed runs a Hebrew School, with classes that begin in pre-school and continue through the teen years. The Hebrew School focuses on teaching children to:
- Engage Judaism with curiosity, passion, and reflection
- Value Torah and its lessons
- Experience and practice Tikkun Olam (healing the World through social action) and middot (Jewish values and virtues)
- Acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to participate in Jewish life, including the fundamentals of prayerbook Hebrew.
The synagogue also runs an array of other educational initiatives, focused on adult learning, literature, and family programs. A Social Action Committee oversees a series of community outreach and support programs, including the hosting of a homeless shelter, local park clean-up activities, and programs focused on topics such as the environment.Ansche Chesed hosts several unaffiliated nursery schools, including Purple Circle, Yaldaynu Preschool, and Discovery Programs.