City Designates ‘Hy Genee Way’ to Honor Leader of LES Jewish Greek Community

Posted on: August 5th, 2016 at 5:11 am by

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Kehila Kedosha Janina on Broome St.

It took more than six months, but the city finally weighed in on the newest Lower East Side street co-naming. “Hy Genee Way” will soon grace the historic, albeit smelly, corner of Allen and Broome Streets.

Mayor de Blasio signed the legislation on Wednesday to enact the ceremonial renaming, located outside the Kehila Kedosha Janina synagogue. The new signage will be implemented later this year with a more official celebration. This designation (nay, recognition) arrives six months after Community Board 3 offered its support of same.

At the time, museum director Marcia Ikonomopoulos reminisced about getting her feet wet in Kehila Kedosha Janina and questioning Genee about keeping the congregation alive. How the former president bled for his birth neighborhood and wanted to educate the world about the congregation, which, at one time, served the hundreds of Greek Jews from Janina (Ioannina) who lived on the block. Through Genee’s service, this obscure community survived the hard times to keep the tradition afloat on the Lower East Side.

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Hy Genee’s kids read a statement about the co-naming, Photo: Andrew Marcus

Hyman Genee was born in 1922 on Orchard Street, and spent his life devoted to his family, his work as a tailor around the corner on Delancey, and as president of spiritual leader of the Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue – the only Greek Jewish Romaniote synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. He died in 2006 at the age of 83.

The synagogue remains one of the only Jewish congregations in the neighborhood with an active minyan (prayer) on Saturday mornings. The building received landmark status in 2004, and underwent a major renovation two years later.

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Hy Genee with wife Lil and mother Fani, Photo: KKJ

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