The JHC holds synagogue records from three New England states—Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island—as well as the personal and professional papers of New England rabbis and cantors.

Massachusetts Synagogue History

Compared to other states and regions of colonial America, the Massachusetts Jewish community formed relatively late. Though various Jewish individuals came and went through Massachusetts in the late 1600s and early 1700s, one of the first—though temporary—Jewish communities in the state was formed in 1777 in Leicester by Aaron Lopez, Jacob Rodriguez Rivera, and their families, who fled Newport, Rhode Island during the American Revolution. As the Jewish population grew and a permanent Jewish community began to form in the state, congregations were formed. The first Jewish congregation in Massachusetts—and the third oldest in New England—was Temple Ohabei Shalom, founded in 1842 in Boston (later relocating to Brookline). Massachusetts’ second Jewish congregation, Boston's Temple Israel, was founded in 1854 as a breakaway from Temple Ohabei Shalom. By the late 19th century and early 20th century, due to an influx of Jewish immigration to the United States—including Massachusetts—and the dispersal of the Jewish community throughout the state, hundreds of congregations were formed, catering to different communities, immigrant groups, and denominations. While many of these synagogues dissolved or merged throughout the years, today there are approximately 160 congregations serving Massachusetts’ nearly 300,000 Jewish residents. To view a list of all Massachusetts synagogues that have been recorded, please see Massachusetts Synagogues and Their Records, Past and Present by Carol Clingan of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston.

Connecticut Synagogue History

Jews had settled in Connecticut as early as 1659, but a significant community didn’t exist until the mid-19th century when German Jews began to immigrate and settle in the area. While Jewish congregations were not permitted to incorporate in Connecticut until 1843, informal congregations were formed prior to that, including the state’s first congregation, Congregation Mishkan Israel in New Haven, organized in 1840, and Congregation Beth Israel in Hartford, founded in 1843. By 1877, there were approximately 1,500 Jews residing in Connecticut, and by 1927, after an influx of Eastern European Jewish immigration, its Jewish population swelled to 94,000, and eventually 105,000 by 1969. By this time, many of the larger Jewish communities were in the southern part of the state, considered to be suburbs of New York City. Today, there are approximately 108 synagogues that serve the state’s nearly 118,000 Jewish residents.

Rhode Island Synagogue History

Rhode Island's Jewish community dates back to 1658, when a group of Sephardic Jewish immigrants began to settle in Newport. By the time of the American Revoluton, the community had grown to over 30 families. Some of these individuals from the state's early Jewish community include well-known figures in American Jewish history such as Aaron Lopez, Moses Seixas, Moses Michael Hayes, and Judah Touro. The state of Rhode Island boasts the oldest existing synagogue in North America--Newport's Touro Synagogue, which was completed and dedicated in 1763. As more Jews began to settle and spread throughout the state, congregations in Providence, Cranston, Warwick, and other surrounding areas were founded to serve the community's religious needs. Today, there are approximately 23 congregations serving Rhode Island's nearly 19,000 Jewish residents.

Massachusetts Synagogue Collections

Below are the JHC’s archival collections related to Massachusetts synagogues. Click on a title to see an overview of the collection, view the collection’s finding aid (guide to the collection and its contents), and, if applicable, view the digitized collection on our Digital Library & Archives.

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Beth Hamidrash Hagodol (Crawford Street Shul) (Roxbury, Boston, Mass.) Records, I-239

Beth Hamidrash Hagodol (known colloquially as the Crawford Street Shul), was founded in 1913 in a small house on Harold Street in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts. In 1915, the cornerstone of the synagogue was placed at 105 Crawford Street in the Elm Hill District of Roxbury. The congregation elected Louis M. Epstein as their first Rabbi in 1918. This collection contains the business, activity and social records of Beth Hamidrash Hagodol, including correspondence, financial records, ledgers, yearbooks, souvenir books, and meeting minutes.  

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Congregation Adath Jeshurun (Boston, Mass.) Records, JHCI-002

This collection contains materials of the Congregation Adath Jeshurun, the founding institution of the Jewish community in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. The main materials cover the last twenty years of the congregation’s existence, a period marked by the decline of the Jewish population of Roxbury which ultimately resulted in the congregation’s demise. The main part of the collection consists of minute books that record the activities of the congregation during this period as well as the steps taken towards its eventual dissolution.

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Congregation Ahabot Sholom (Lynn, Mass.) Records, I-568

Incorporated in 1901, Congregation Ahabat Sholom constructed a German Romanesque synagogue on Church Street, which was dedicated in 1905 during a ceremony lead by the congregation's first cantor, Benjamin Gordon. The congregation was one of Lynn’s several Jewish Orthodox congregations in the early 1900s. This collection contains administrative records, photographs, scrapbooks, and programmatic materials.

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Congregation Ahaveth Achim Anshe Sphard (Chelsea, Mass.) Records, I-222

Congregation Ahaveth Achim Anshe Sphard (also known as the Elm Street Synagogue) was an orthodox synagogue in Chelsea, Massachusetts. This collection contains a ledger with the congregation’s constitution, bylaws, and the minutes of two meetings. It also contains mortgage records and establishment of association forms for the congregation.

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Congregation Anshai Sfard (Lynn, Mass.) Records, I-556

Congregation Anshai Sfard (Anshei, Anshe, Anshi) was a Hasidic, conservative Jewish Synagogue established by Jewish immigrants in Lynn, Massachusetts from 1888 to December 1999. This collection contains a letterpress printing block used to print the incorporation papers, a large "Golden Book of Congregation Anshei Sfard," which includes an illuminated manuscript with hand-painted and gold-leafed elements, a donor list, newspaper clippings, and photographs; meeting minutes, several family history scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, purchase and sales agreements, and photographs.

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Congregation Anshei Libovitz (Boston, Mass.) Records, I-103

Congregation Anshei Libovitz (alternatively referred to as Lebowitz, Libawitz, Libavitz, and Lebavitz) was founded in 1890 in Downtown Boston. The collection contains meeting minutes and financial records that provide information on the congregation’s membership and the day-to-day management of the synagogue.

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Congregation Beth El-Atereth Israel (Newton, Mass.) Records, JHCI-007

Congregation Beth El-Atereth Israel is an Orthodox synagogue located in Newton, Massachusetts. The congregation was a joining of Congregation Beth El (also known as the Fowler Street Shul) in Dorchester and Congregation Atereth Israel in Roxbury. This collection contains banquet programs, yearbooks, and invitations.

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Congregation Beth Israel (Baldwin Place Shul) (North End, Boston, Mass.) Records, I-131

Congregation Beth Israel began in 1888 when a group of young men spilt from Shomre Beth Abraham to form their own congregation. A year later they relocated to an old Baptist Church located on Baldwin Place in Boston's North End. The Baldwin Place synagogue housed a sanctuary on the ground floor as well as schools and meeting rooms in the space above. It was the largest shul in the North End and was considered the center of Boston Orthodoxy. Rabbi Moshe Zevulun Margolies presided over it and was considered to be the chief rabbi of Boston's Orthodox community. In 1920 it was disbanded. This collection contains records of the Congregation Beth Israel, 1887 and 1890. It includes a constitution booklet from 1887. Also in the collection is a deed of sale from 1890 and an indenture that pertains to the deed.

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Congregation Beth Israel (Cambridge, Mass.) Records, I-51

Includes a copy of the constitution and a short history of the congregation; the minute books (1911-1923; 1939-1945) and financial records (1925-1937) of various activities of the synagogue and its relation with local, national and international Jewish events. Of special interest are the synagogue’s involvement in the providing of kosher meat in the Cambridge area, and its relation with the Cambridge and Somerville Hebrew Literary Association which maintained a Hebrew Free School. Minute book from the WWII period contains material on the congregation’s war effort and anti-Nazi and Zionist activities.

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Congregation B’nai Moshe (Brighton, Boston, Mass.) Records, JHCI-014

Congregation B’nai Moshe is a congregation located in Brighton, Boston, Massachusetts, formed in 1933. The congregation grew quickly and underwent several construction projects during its first two decades, moving from Chestnut Hill Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue, both in Brighton. This collection contains a souvenir booklet and dedication booklets produced by the congregation.

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Congregation Mishkan Israel (Dorchester, Boston, Mass.) Records, I-114

This collection contains meeting minutes, financial records, mailing lists, stationary, programs, and invitations created by Congregation Mishkan Israel and its Ladies Auxiliary.

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Congregation Mishkan Tefila (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) Records, I-462

Congregation Mishkan Tefila was founded in 1858 as Mishkan Israel, and is considered to be the oldest conservative synagogue in New England. Its founding members were East Prussian Jews who separated from Ohabei Shalom, which was predominately Polish at the time. In 1894, Mishkan Israel and another conservative synagogue, Shaarei Tefila, merged to form Congregation Mishkan Tefila. The synagogue moved its religious school to Walnut Street in Newton in 1955, and began planning for a new building in Chestnut Hill on Hammond Pond Parkway. The groundbreaking ceremony was on November 13, 1955. In 1958, services were held for the first time in the new synagogue building. This collection contains plays, annual reports, programs for events and dinners, and newsletters.

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Congregation Ohave Sholom (Gardner, Mass.) Records, I-492

Congregation Ohave Sholom was formed on January 20, 1910 in Gardner, Massachuesetts. At the time the synagogue was built, Ohave Sholom had 20 families as members, but during World War I the population peaked, and 60 families held membership. However, by the 1970s membership began to decline and in 1998, with only 12 members remaining, the congregation dissolved.

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Congregation Tifereth Israel and Community Center Records (Everett, Mass.) Records, I-592

Congregation Tifereth Israel was founded in Everett in 1910 and dedicated their first synagogue in 1912. After working in close partnership for nearly 30 years, Congregation Tifereth Israel merged with Everett Hebrew School and Community School to become Congregation Tifereth Israel and Community Center in 1955. In 2016, Congregation Tifereth Israel and Community Center merged with the North Shore Chabad Lubavitch. This collection contains meeting minutes, news clippings, photographs, newsletters, and programs documenting the activities and operations of the synagogue, community center, and Hebrew school.

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Hebrew Educational Alliance and Congregation Toras Moshe (Boston, Mass.) Records, I-231

The Hebrew Educational Alliance was formed in Roxbury, Massachusetts and built a community hall there in 1921, establishing an orthodox synagogue, Congregation Toras Moshe, soon after. The Congregation sold the land and merged with Congregation Kadimah of Brighton, MA in 1964 to form Congregation Kadimah-Toras Moshe. The collection contains administrative records, such as ledgers, insurance records, correspondence, and membership lists, as well as documents sent to members of the Congregation, including notices and souvenir booklets. There is also one small group of photographs.

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Jewish Historical Society of Western Massachusetts Records, I-600

The Jewish Historical Society of Western Massachusetts Records contain materials collected by the society that document the Jewish community of Western Massachusetts. Included are materials on Jewish organizations, families, individuals, schools, arts and cultural institutions, and synagogues; publications written about or by the Jewish community; and information on the Jewish Historical Society of Western Massachusetts itself. Synagogues in the collections include Beis Medrash Lubavitch (Longmeadow), Beit Ahavah (Florence), Congregation Ahavas Achim (Westfield), Congregation Beth Israel (Springfield), Congregation B’nai Israel (Northampton), Congregation B’nai Jacob (Springfield), Congregation Rodphey Sholom (Holyoke), Congregation Sons of Israel (Springfield), Congregation Sons of Zion (Holyoke), Jewish Community of Amherst (Amherst), Sinai Temple (Springfield), Temple Beth El (Springfield), and Temple Israel (Greenfield), as well as Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Kesser Israel, and Congregation Kodimoh, which in 2008 all merged to form Congregation B’nai Torah (Springfield).

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Kehillath Israel Synagogue (Brookline, Mass.) Records, I-488

Includes a copy of the constitution and a short history of the congregation; the minute books (1911-1923; 1939-1945) and financial records (1925-1937) of various activities of the synagogue and its relation with local, national and international Jewish events. Of special interest are the synagogue’s involvement in the providing of kosher meat in the Cambridge area, and its relation with the Cambridge and Somerville Hebrew Literary Association which maintained a Hebrew Free School. Minute book from the WWII period contains material on the congregation’s war effort and anti-Nazi and Zionist activities.

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Morris Finkelstein and Temple Emanuel (Newton, Mass.) Papers, P-859

Temple Emanuel Congregation was founded in Newton, Massachusetts in 1935. It is part of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), and has over 1,100 families in its congregation. Morris Finkelstein became president of the Congregation in 1972 and served until 1975. Main material types include correspondence, governance, membership lists and speeches.

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Temple Beth El of Swampscott and Marblehead (Mass.) Records, I-574

Temple Beth El was founded in Lynn in 1924. In 1946, members of the congregation split off to form Temple Israel, and in 1968, Temple Beth El expanded from its Lynn location to Swampscott. The two temples reunited in 2005 to become Congregation Shirat Hiyam. This collection contains documents related to many areas of synagogue life, including general membership, the music program, the Religious School, temple governance, and the Sisterhood.

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Temple B'nai Abraham (Beverly, Mass.) Records, I-573

Temple B’nai Abraham is a Conservative congregation, originally founded in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1908 as the Sons of Abraham. The Hebrew Community Center was annexed to the synagogue in 1930 and incorporated social groups, such as the Sisterhood and the Beverly Lodge of B’nai B’rith. The congregation expanded to a new location in 1962 and officially changed their name to Temple B’nai Abraham. The collection was formed by a former president of the Sisterhood and contains Temple B’nai Abraham programs and announcements, Sisterhood newsletters, and photographs.

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Temple B'nai Israel (Revere, Mass.) Records, I-221

Temple B’nai Israel is a synagogue, established in the Beachmont neighborhood of Revere, Massachusetts in 1906. The congregation’s associated cemetery is located on Fuller Street in Everett. The collection consists of minutes from meetings of the congregation, Board of Directors, and miscellaneous other groups and committees, along with correspondence related to the synagogue and the Temple Israel Burial Society.

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Temple B'nai Jacob (Lexington, Mass.) Records, I-102

Temple B'nai Jacob was an Orthodox synagogue on Sylvia Street in Lexington, Massachusetts. Their first service was held on Passover in 1916. Although this congregation is no longer operational, two synagogues in Lexington—Temple Emunah (Conservative) and Temple Isaiah (Reform)—have their roots in Temple B'nai Jacob. This collection contains one financial ledger in English and Yiddish.

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Temple Emanuel (Andover, Mass.) Records, I-442 and I-422A

Temple Emanuel was founded in 1920 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It began by serving a small immigrant Jewish community that has since grown to an affluent and lively congregation of about 600 families. This growth occurred largely under the tenure of Rabbi Harry A. Roth, who lead the congregation from 1962 until 1990 and oversaw the temple’s move to Andover, Massachusetts. This collection includes correspondence, photographs, and sermons.

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Temple Israel (Boston, Mass.) Records, I-458

Temple Israel was founded as Congregation Adath Israel in 1854 when a group of German Jews broke from Congregation Ohabei Shalom. The congregation was also known as the Pleasant Street Synagogue. In 1859, the congregation purchased cemetery land in Wakefield, Massachusetts. The synagogue was, and remains, a Reform congregation, and has been home to well known Rabbis, including Joshua Loth Liebman and Roland B. Gittelsohn. This collection contains flyers, newsletters, pamphlets, sermons and a yearbook.

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Temple Israel of Swampscott and Marblehead (Mass.) Records, I-597

Temple Israel of Swampscott and Marblehead was founded in 1946 by former members of Temple Beth El in Lynn. The new congregation purchased land at 837 Humphrey Street in Swampscott in 1947, and the synagogue and school stood at this location until the unification of Temple Israel and Temple Beth El in 2005. The collection contains administrative documents, records from the Brotherhood and Sisterhood organizations and the Hebrew School, publications, photographs of the synagogue and its membership, and documents related to the groundbreaking ceremony for the new temple building in 1955.

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Temple New Tamid (Peabody, Mass.) Records, I-561

Temple Ner Tamid was founded in 1959 by local Jewish families who wanted a conservative synagogue in their home town of Peabody, Mass. Following its inception the congregation was able to buy a tract of land and raise money for construction of the temple, which was completed in 1965. Included are correspondence and other mailings, event programs, seating charts, temple by-laws, a Landscaping Committee record book, meeting and expense reports, and membership lists.

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Temple Ohabei Shalom (Brookline, Mass.) Records, I-459

Temple Ohabei Shalom was founded on February 26, 1843 by several Boston Jewish families, and is the first synagogue established in Massachusetts. After meeting in the homes of both a founding congregant and the first elected Rabbi, Abraham Saling, Ohabei Shalom dedicated its first building on Warren (now Warrenton) Street in Boston in 1852. In 1855, the German Jewish congregants left Ohabei Shalom and founded Congregation Adath Israel (now Temple Israel in Boston.) The Polish Jewish congregants maintained the name Ohabei Shalom and the cemetery land in East Boston. In 1858, East Prussian Jews also left the congregation, forming Die Israelitische Gemeinde Mishkan Israel (now Miskhan Tefila in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.) This collection contains flyers, programs and tickets for events as well as copies of bulletins and newsletters, such as Brotherhood Bulletin, Stars and Stripes, Temple Bulletin and Temple Tidings.

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Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob (Salem, Mass.) Records, I-553

Temple Shalom is an Egalitarian Conservative Synagogue in Salem, Massachusetts, formerly called the Sons of Jacob. The congregation was formed by European Jewish immigrants in the Salem area in 1898. This collection includes photographs of congregation members and activities, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, meeting minutes, and various publications.

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Temple Sinai (Swampscott, Mass.) Records, I-565

Temple Sinai was founded in 1953 and became a hub of vibrant Jewish life on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Rabbi Meyer Strassfeld served as the congregation's spiritual leader from 1965-1989, and during this time he involved the community in the Soviet Jewry movement and led the dedication of a Torah scroll saved during the Holocaust. The collection contains many event flyers, booklets, and newspaper clippings that illustrate Temple Sinai's active community.

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Vilna Shul (Boston, Mass.) Records, I-598

The Vilna Shul is the last immigrant-era synagogue building in Boston and currently operates as a cultural center. This collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, proposals, photographs, notes, publications, financial records, legal documents, architectural plans, and audiovisual materials relating to the activities, internal proceedings, finances, early history, building renovations, and legal disputes of the Vilna Shul.

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Connecticut Synagogue Collections

Below are the JHC’s archival collections related to Connecticut synagogues. Click on a title to see an overview of the collection, view the collection’s finding aid (guide to the collection and its contents), and, if applicable, view the digitized collection on our Digital Library & Archives.

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Congregation Adath Israel (Newtown, Conn.) Records, I-323

Congregation Adath Israel was established in 1919 by a small group of Jewish farmers in Newtown, Connecticut. The synagogue expanded its building in 1957 and converted from the Orthodox movement to the Conservative movement in the 1970s. In 2007, they relocated to a larger building within Newtown. The collection primarily consists of administrative and financial records, along with newspaper clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous documents.

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Congregation Beth Israel (Hartford, Conn.) Records, I-464

Congregation Beth Israel was founded in 1843 and is Connecticut's oldest synagogue. Originally established as an Orthodox congregation, the synagogue eventually converted to Reform and was one of the founding members of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Union for Reform Judaism) in 1877. This collection includes event flyers, programs for services, sermons, anniversary books with historical information, and bulletins.

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Congregation Mishkan Israel (Hamden, Conn.) Records, I-465

Congregation Mishkan Israel in Hamden, Connecticut, was founded in 1840. Their cemetery was established in 1843 in the Westville section of New Haven, Connecticut. This collection consists primarily of newsletters and other synagogue publications, as well as invitations to the 100th anniversary of the synagogue and other events.

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Congregation Rodeph Sholom (Bridgeport, Conn.) Records, JHCI-006

Congregation Rodeph Sholom is a synagogue in Bridgeport, Connecticut founded in 1909 by Nathan Schwarz, Samuel Graves, and Nathan Klebansky as an offshoot of Congregation B’nai Moshe, also in Bridgeport. This collection contains two dedication journals commemorating major construction projects, as well as a 1959 book celebrating the congregation's 50th anniversary.

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Rhode Island Synagogue Collections

Below are the JHC’s archival collections related to Rhode Island synagogues. Click on a title to see an overview of the collection, view the collection’s finding aid (guide to the collection and its contents), and, if applicable, view the digitized collection on our Digital Library & Archives.

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Temple Beth-El (Providence, R.I.) Records, I-460

Temple Beth-El, located on the East Side of Providence, dates back to 1849, with the creation of the group Sons of Israel. This collection contains programs, sermons and newsletters. Although the congregation was originally Orthodox, it affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Union for Reform Judaism) in 1877. This collection contains programs and sermons for temple activities, but primarily consists of copies of the temple's bulletin, which span the years 1945 to 1969.

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Touro Synagogue (Newport, R.I.) Records, I-461

Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, is the nation’s oldest synagogue. The Jewish community of Newport was founded in 1658 by a small group of Sephardic Jews seeking religious freedom. In 1758, Isaac Touro, a Dutch Jew, became the community’s spiritual leader. Shortly after, the congregation purchased land and hired Peter Harrison to design the Synagogue. The building was dedicated in 1763, and has continued to serve Newport’s Jewish community. This collection consists of addresses, annual reports, correspondence, board meeting minutes, articles and newspaper clippings concerning the synagogue, as well as publications, a calendar, dedication pamphlets, postcards, slides, negatives, a scrapbook and invitations to miscellaneous events.

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Clergy Collections

Below are the JHC’s archival collections related to rabbis and cantors. Click on a title to see an overview of the collection, view the collection’s finding aid (guide to the collection and its contents), and, if applicable, view the digitized collection on our Digital Library & Archives.

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David B. Alpert Papers, P-82

This collection includes numerous diaries written by Rabbi David B. Alpert from the 1940s to early 1980s. In addition to the diaries, the collection also contains copies of newspaper articles penned by Alperton Jewish issues, as well as minutes and notes from various rabbinical conferences. Alpert's Jewish chaplaincy work is reflected in the newsletters and correspondence written on behalf of the institution, although the bulk of newsletters is from Boston City Hospital.

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Icik Benkovitz Papers, JHCP-005

This collection contains marriage and divorce records performed by Rabbi Icik Benkovitz in Chelsea, Massachusetts and surrounding cities and towns. A searchable database of the marriage records is also available.

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Ber Boruchoff Papers, P-157

Rabbi Ber Boruchoff was the first and longest serving rabbi for Congregation Beth Israel in Malden, Massachusetts. This collection contains ledgers with records of marriages performed in the Greater Boston area during the years 1906-1938, as well as some photographs and biographical information.

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Avraham Hirsch and Hannah Schaiman Freedman Papers, JHCP-002

This collection contains the professional and personal papers of Rabbi Avraham Hirsch Freedman, who throughout his career served as rabbi at Congregation Adath Jeshurun (Ottawa, Canada), Durban United Hebrew Congregation (Durban, South Africa), and Congregation Beth Israel (Bangor, Maine), as well as those of his wife, Hannah Schaiman Freedman. Included are sermons, lectures, correspondence, life cycle events, eulogies, and news clippings.

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Freedman Family Papers, P-1044

This collection contains photographs, correspondence, news clippings, vital records, genealogical materials, sheet music, recordings, and manuscripts documenting the Freedman family of Springfield, Massachusetts. Included are materials on Joseph and Lena (Sakowitz) Freedman, and their children Jacob Freedman, a rabbi, scholar, translator, and writer; Samuel Freedman; Martin Freedman; and Sarah (Freedman) Aizenstat.

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Friedman Family Papers, P-948

Aaron Friedman was a rabbi, shochet, and author. He was a shochet in Stavisk, Poland, Bernkastel-on-the-Moselle, Germany, and New York City, and author of a defense of the practice of Shechita entitled, “Tuv Ta’am” in 1874. This collection also contains information on his son, Abraham Friedman and his grandson, Nathan Friedman. This collection consists of correspondence, business documents, family photographs, personal effects, genealogical information, and publications.

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Myron S. Geller Arbitration Files, P-398

The Myron S. Geller Arbitration Files record the arbitration process of a contract dispute between Rabbi Myron S. Geller and Temple B'nai Abraham of Beverly, Massachusetts. The collection contains correspondence between all parties involved in the dispute, as well as legal documents, such as exhibits, affidavit, depositions, hearing transcripts, judgments, briefs, and the claims themselves.

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Albert I. Gordon Papers, P-86

Albert I. Gordon was a Rabbi, author, and sociologist. Rabbi of Temple Israel of Washington Heights, New York (1929-1930), Adath Jeshurun in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1930-1946) and Temple Emanuel in Newton, Massachusetts (1949-1968), Rabbi Gordon also served as Executive Director of the United Synagogue of America (1946-1949) and wrote numerous articles and pamphlets, as well as the books Jews in TransitionJews in SuburbiaIntermarriage, and The Nature of Conversion. Gordon also hosted a radio program in Minneapolis on WCCO for many years. This collection contains typescripts of Gordon's radio addresses; research, notes and interviews for his books, various sermons and speeches; correspondence, photographs, and materials from his synagogues.

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Aaron Gorovitz Papers, P-87

Rabbi Aaron Gorovitz was born in Lithuania in 1870. He immigrated to New York at the age of 22. Before moving to Boston, he was one of the founders of Etz Chaim Yeshiva (later the Rabbi Isaac Elchonon Rabbinical College) and Yeshiva Jacob Joseph, organized the St. John, New Brunswick branch of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and served as a rabbi in St. John, New Jersey, North Adams, Massachusetts and Woonsocket, Rhode Island before moving to Boston in 1907. Until the end of his life he was rabbi of Congregation Sons of Abraham in Roxbury. Aaron Gorovitz died in 1956. 

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Arthur Green Papers, P-963

Professor Arthur Green is a Reconstructionist rabbi, author, and teacher. He is the former president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) and currently is dean of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School. The collection contains personal and professional correspondence, articles, and manuscripts. Some student work and correspondence is included but is currently restricted.

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Richard J. Israel Papers, P-860

Rabbi Richard J. Israel was born in 1929 in Chicago. After attending the University of Chicago and Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Israel began his lengthy career in Hillel at the University of California, Los Angeles. He later worked at Hillel at Yale University, followed by an Executive Director position at the Hillel Council of Greater Boston. Rabbi Israel was also the Director of Central Services and Judaica at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston and was the Director of the Rabbinic Program at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. In addition to his work on college campuses and in Jewish education, he was the author of "The Kosher Pig and Other Curiosities of Modern Jewish Life" and "Jewish Identity Games: A How to do it Book." The bulk of this collection contains resources and information pertaining to his career at the Jewish Community Center, although there are several documents regarding his work in Hillel and Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. In addition, a brief memoir of his trip to the Soviet Union in 1974 is included, as well as copies of various Black Panther newspapers from New Haven, Connecticut.

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Joshua Loth Liebman Papers, P-636

This collection contains multiple radio addresses and speeches made by Rabbi Liebman on a variety of topics between 1940 and 1947. His topics included Zionism, Judaism, Dr. Chaim Weitzman, Rabbi Stephen Wise, United States Supreme Court Justices Louis Brandeis and Benjamin Cardozo, as well as matters relating to the positive impact of religion on mind and spirit.

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David Meir Rabinowitz Papers, P-257

Rabbi David Meir Rabinowitz was born c. 1863 and died in 1943. This collection contains a conversion certificate in Hebrew.

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Meyer Azriel Rabinovitz Papers, P-367

Contains photocopies of four Hebrew letters endorsing Rabbi Rabinovitz, three of which were written by Rabbis Jacob Widrewitz, Ph. Klein and Joshua Siegel in New York in 1907. One is specifically addressed to Cong. Tzemach Tzedek and Agudas Achim of Chelsea, Mass. Also includes the photocopy of a Hebrew contract signed by ca. 50 members of the congregation in 1907, photocopies of two requests for funds from Poland, a photograph of Rabinovitz, an announcement of his son's wedding in 1925, and a special Resolution issued by the Board of Aldermen of Chelsea at his death. Also includes photograph of Rabinovitz & correspondence with Hannah Schiffres re: donation of materials (1981).

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Meyer Seifert Papers, P-797

Meyer Seifert was the cantor of Congregation Adath Jeshurun on Blue Hill Avenue in Roxbury, Massachusetts. This collection contains a poem, written in Hebrew, titled, “Song for the Celebration of the Opening of the University.”

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Morton Shanok Papers, P-995

Morton Shanok was the cantor at Temple Beth El in Lynn (and later Swampscott) for 32 years and, after his retirement, High Holiday Cantor at Temple B’nai Abraham and Religious Cultural Coordinator at the Jewish Rehabilitation Center for Aged. He served in the U.S. Army as assistant army chaplain from 1942-1945. He was a founding member of the Cantors Assembly and helped write the curriculum at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music of the Jewish Theological Seminary. The material in the collection consists of photographs, correspondence, and documents primarily related to music and Cantor Shanok’s position at Temple Beth El.

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Leo Shubow Papers, P-395

Leo Shubow was a Boston rabbi who founded Temple Emanuel in Newton, Massachusetts. Prior to becoming a Rabbi he served as a Yeoman with the International Ice Patrol and wrote frequently about his experiences as well as what happened on the Titanic. This collection contains articles, speeches, and correspondence with Stephen Wise, as well as news clippings and broadsides.

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Maurice L. Zigmond Papers, P-112

Rabbi Maurice L. Zigmond, or “Ziggy” as he was known to friends and colleagues, was born in Denver, Colorado on March 5, 1904. Rabbi Zigmond taught Anthropology at Yale from 1948-1961, but he began his career as a counselor for Jewish college students in 1935, and was a staunch advocate of Hillel establishing and directing several Hillels throughout his professional career. In 1941, he established the Hillel Foundations at both Yale and the University of Connecticut, and from 1955-1956 he served as the Director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. From 1947-1968 he was the Hillel Director at Harvard and Radcliffe, and in 1950-1969, he was the New England Regional Director of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations. This collection contains correspondence, program and financial reports, and information pertaining to the activities of a variety of organizations and Hillel foundations. The bulk of the material reflects Rabbi Zigmond’s tenure as the Hillel Director at Harvard and Radcliffe (1947-1969) and the New England Regional Director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations (1950-1969).

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Rabbinical & Synagogue Associations and Related Collections

Below are the JHC’s archival collections related to rabbinical and synagogue associations and other related materials. Click on a title to see an overview of the collection, view the collection’s finding aid (guide to the collection and its contents), and, if applicable, view the digitized collection on our Digital Library & Archives.

Please note: most of our digitized collections require the creation of a free guest user account to access. Click here for instructions on how to create a free account, as well as tips for navigating the Digital Library & Archives.

Massachusetts Board of Rabbis Records, I-56 and I-56A

The Massachusetts Board of Rabbis was founded in 1938 as the Rabbinical Association of Greater Boston by Rabbis Herman Rubenovitz, Louis Epstein, Joshua Loth Lieberman, Beryl D. Cohen, and Sam Abrams. During the 1970s the Board focused on its chaplaincy work in hospitals as well as timely topics, such as social action, chevruta, and health insurance for Rabbis. This collection contains minutes, correspondence and statements regarding the Board's work around hospital chaplaincy, kashruth, Israel, intermarriage, and the Vietnam War.

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Steven Kellerman Synagogue Photographs Collection, P-931

This collection contains mostly 8x10 black and white photographs of synagogues and other buildings of note, taken by Steven Kellerman, in 1981 and 1985. Also included are several 3x5 and 4x6 color photographs of synagogues. The collection also contains exhibit flyers and pamphlets, brochures for various local synagogues, and newspaper articles pertaining to the exhibit, synagogues, correspondence regarding exhibits, and articles about the history and architecture of synagogues. 

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Synagogue Council of Massachusetts Records, I-454

The Synagogue Council of Massachusetts was founded in 1941 as the Associated Synagogues of Greater Boston (and later the Associated Synagogues of Massachusetts). The documents in this collection describe the proceedings and activities of the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, as well as those of its affiliated organizations, including the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, the Rabbinical Association of Greater Boston, the Kashruth Commission, the Beth Din, and the Jewish Chaplaincy Council. This collection contains meeting minutes, correspondence, flyers, brochures, pamphlets, reports, financial documents, photographs, scrapbooks, news clippings, directories, and newsletters.

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Articles, Webinars, & More

From Revere to Kenya: How Jewish Ritual Objects Found a New Home