The Chelsea Gateway Project (CGP) seeks to explore residents’ personal stories and places, and Chelsea’s social, cultural and educational resources to revisit the city’s historic immigrant past as part of Chelsea’s vibrant present. Through foot tours of downtown neighborhoods, existing, repurposed Jewish-related structures and present-day immigrant projects, CGP invites participants to imagine a beloved community once known as “Little Jerusalem” at the actual sites of Chelsea’s cherished Yiddish vitality.

Chelsea Jewish Tours grows from Ellen Rovners long-term passion for exploring immigrant stories to re-examine the city’s historic past and vital present. As the third generation of an immigrant family to Chelsea and a cultural anthropologist, she believes that knowing and celebrating our immigrant pasts is integral to building an informed, empowered and engaged multi-cultural society. To this end, she seeks to engage with community activists, leaders and artists who are deeply involved with experiential, collaborative social change.

The Chelsea Gateway Project works with Temple Emmanuel, the Walnut Street Synagogue and the Chelsea Collaborative to work on projects designed to highlight the city’s immigrant pasts and rich history, such as oral histories, artist exhibits, performances, collections of material artifacts, tours of the city, community education and food-based cultural events. In this way, the Chelsea Gateway Project will bring community members and visitors to the city to honor its history as a dynamic, multi-cultural, immigrant stronghold, and a community where, despite the challenges of poverty, discrimination and hostile federal government policies, Chelsea immigrant groups’ personal aspirations, hard work and ingenuity continue to re-shape the American story.