An official Path Through History Site! Founded in New Amsterdam during the 17th century, Congregation Shearith Israel is the oldest Jewish congregation in the country. The Congregation was formed by Spanish and Portuguese Sephardic Jewish immigrants in 1654. In addition to its imposing 1897 synagogue on Central Park West, the congregation maintains some of Manhattan's earliest burial grounds, including the First Cemetery (1683-1828) at St. James Place, the Second Cemetery (1805-1829) on West 11th Street, and the Third Cemetery (1829-1851) on West 21st Street. These properties recall the early growth and rich heritage of New York's religious congregations.