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Congregation Ahabot Sholom (Lynn, Mass.) Records

 Collection
Identifier: I-568

Scope and Content Note

The records of Congregation Ahabot Sholom document the activities, administrative operations, finances, and events conducted by members of the community, and include both textual and photographic materials. The bulk of these records detail the congregation’s recurring programs, including their anniversary celebrations, holiday services, and the Sisterhood Congregation’s annual donor dinner. Commemorative programs, invitations, and certificates document many of these special events. Administrative records include meeting minutes and notices, budget reports, correspondence, and memos discussing the congregation’s initiatives and membership activities. A significant collection of newspaper clippings report both individual and community developments and accomplishments, including features on Rabbi Zaitchik, Hebrew school students, and major congregation milestones. Photographic materials depict special events and prominent individual members of the congregation.

Dates

  • undated, 1982-2001

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Historical Note

Maurice E. Eberson led prominent officers of Lynn’s Hebrew Benevolent Society to form Congregation Ahabat Sholom in 1899. Incorporated in 1901, the congregation then purchased a plot of land and raised money for a synagogue. The building was constructed in the dominant German Romanesque style of synagogues in the Boston area, reflecting the Eastern European cultural ties of Boston’s Jewish immigrant communities at the turn of the century. Lynn’s Mayor Henry Eastham laid the cornerstone during ceremonies held in 1903, where he and officers of the congregation were also the principle speakers. Ahabat Sholom was completed and officially dedicated in 1905, during a ceremony presided over by the congregation’s first cantor, Benjamin Gordon. One of several Jewish Orthodox congregations in the early 1900s, Congregation Ahabat Sholom practiced tenets that were “the most modified of any of the Jewish congregations in Lynn.”

Rabbi Samuel Zaitchik joined the congregation in 1947, after serving in the U.S. Army as a military chaplain during World War II and earning a Master’s degree in Jewish philosophy at Harvard University. As the congregation’s spiritual leader until 1997, Zaitchik oversaw its expansion and shepherded its development over several decades. In the 1950s, the congregation doubled in size, prompting the construction of a new synagogue on Ocean Street to accommodate its growth. Though early to mid-20th century Jewish immigration to the congregation was characterized by arrivals from Eastern Europe and Germany, the latter half of the century saw a rise in the number of Russian Jews. Rabbi Zaitchik’s spearheaded efforts to aid the Soviet Jewry, primarily during the 1980s and 1990s. After Rabbi Zaitchik’s retirement in 1997, Rabbi Avraham Kelman assumed his leadership position, continuing in the congregation’s Orthodox traditions. Declining membership by the early 2000s reduced the congregation’s financial strength to support Rabbi Kelman’s contract. As a result, Rabbi Kasriel Laker became the congregation’s interim rabbi in 2014.

References

  1. Material from the collection
  2. Jonathan D. Sarna, Ellen Smith, and Scott-Martin Kosofsky, The Jews of Boston, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), 181.
  3. “Cosmopolitan Lynn—the Jewish Community in this City,” Lynn Daily Item article, 1913, box 1, folder 7.
  4. Forman, Amy, "Interim Rabbi Hired at Cong. Ahabat Sholom." The Jewish Journal, 8 May 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014. http://boston.forward.com/articles/184012/interim-rabbi-hired-at-cong-ahabat-sholom/>

Chronology

May 1, 1892
Lynn’s Hebrew Benevolent Society dedicates their synagogue at the corner of Monroe and Market Street.
1899
Several members of Lynn’s Hebrew Benevolent Society organize Congregation Ahabat Sholom.
October 30, 1901
Congregation Ahabat Sholom is incorporated.
November 7, 1903
Mayor Henry Eastham of Lynn lays the corner stone for Ahabat Sholom.
1905
Ahabat Sholom (Church Street Synagogue) is completed and dedicated.
1911
The congregation inaugurates a Hebrew school system, headed by instructor Max Forman.
1947
Rabbi Samuel Zaitchik joins the congregation as its spiritual leader.
1960-62
The Ocean Street Synagogue is constructed.
1997
Rabbi Zaitchik retires.
1998
Rabbi Avraham Kelman leads the congregation.
2014
Rabbi Kasriel Laker assumes interim leadership of the congregation.

Extent

1.5 linear feet (1 document box, 1 OS box)

Abstract

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.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore in 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by Kora Welsh, 2014
Title
Guide to Congregation Ahabot Sholom (Lynn, Mass.) Records, I-568
Author
Processed by Kora Welsh
Date
2014

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245