Members of fire-damaged NY synagogue pray outside

By the Associated Press | July 12, 2011 | 5:14 PM EDT

Firefighters battle a four alarm fire at Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue on the East Side of New York Monday July 11, 2011. About 170 firefighters responded to the blaze which began at about 8:30 p.m. Monday according to a fire department spokesman. (AP Photo /David Karp)

NEW YORK (AP) — Members of a Manhattan synagogue that burst into flames and was badly damaged are holding a prayer service in the street in front of the 110-year-old building.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein will join Cantor Mayer Davis for the Tuesday afternoon ritual on East 85th Street, reciting psalms for times of tragedy.

The fire at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun (keh-hee-LAHT' yeh-shoo-ROON') started at about 8:30 p.m. Monday, rising high into the sky above the Upper East Side.

It took about 170 firefighters to bring the blaze under control. Five of them suffered minor injuries.

The cause is under investigation. Officials say the blaze appears to have started on the top floor and roof.

The rabbi leads a 140-year-old congregation in a building erected in 1901 that was under renovation.