Skip to main content

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

Identifier: I-553

Scope and Content Note

This collection includes correspondence, dedication booklets, extensive organization publications, service programs, and newsletters. There are also many photographs; many from the time of the Temple’s dedication and also portraits of various people from the early 20th century. These people may be associated with the Sons of Jacob by membership or marriage into a member’s family, but some relationships to the collection are unclear. There are also postcards, black and white and color film negatives, newspaper clippings, two audio cassette tapes (one of a speech by Temple President Donald Frye and the other of an annual meeting), certificates of congratulations for anniversaries from congressmen and state representatives, a small book on Jewish thought for a Bar Mitzvah, records of the Hebrew School Committee and a Junior Bible workbook (1926) belonging to Malcolm Racow. There is also a small series regarding past Rabbis’ activities, which include correspondence and speeches about racial tensions within the Temple community, and a photograph of Ethiopian Rabbi David Mathew Doré.


  • undated, 1910-2006


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

Use Restrictions

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

Historical Note

Temple Shalom, or Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob, is an Egalitarian Conservative Jewish Synagogue in Salem, Massachusetts and the longest continuously established synagogue on the North Shore. The congregation was formally called the Sons of Jacob, which was founded by a group of European Jewish immigrants. Salem had a small Jewish community since colonial days, but the first recorded Jewish resident was David Conrad, a member of the Common Council in 1866. On December 29, 1898, a formal religious charter was issued to the Sons of Jacob Congregation. Max Winer was the first president, and services were held at various rented locations, including 4 Derby Square, Salem, MA. In 1899, land was purchased on Buxton Road in Danvers and was used as the Sons of Jacob cemetery. In 1903, the congregation purchased a former church at Essex and Union Streets where a Sisterhood and Brotherhood were formed, also called the Talmud Torah Auxiliary.

In 1936, Temple president Max Goldberg acquired real estate on Lafayette and Ocean Streets, hoping to someday build a bigger temple for the congregation. In 1940, Temple president Ben Axelrod acquired property adjacent to this plot, forming the plot of land Temple Shalom would be built upon. This site was used for 16 years as a Jewish Community Center, and was also used during World War II by the Red Cross and the Civilian Defense.

In 1948, the Sons of Jacob became an affiliate of the United Synagogue of America. After a successful fundraising campaign, the new Temple was built. A dedication ceremony was held on December 12, 1952, renaming the congregation Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob. The 35th anniversary of the building at 287 Lafayette Street was celebrated in 1987 and the 100th anniversary of the congregation in 1998 (counting the 1898 foundation of the Sons of Jacob). The 50th anniversary of the building was held in 2003. In 2013, the congregation’s building was up for sale and Temple Shalom was considering a merger with other conservative congregations in the area. The Jewish Journal reported in January of 2014 that Temple Shalom’s Board of Directors accepted an offer by Salem Renewal LLC to purchase the 287 Lafayette Street synagogue building. Salem Renewal LLC holds a Letter of Intent by Salem State University to lease the property.


  1. Materials from the Collection
  2. Forman, Amy. “Temple Shalom Building Sale Moves Forward,” The Jewish Journal. Vol 38 No 11, January 3, 2014. Tom Dalton, "Salem Temple Considering Merger," The Salem News August 14, 2013,>.
  3. Temple Shalom, Temple Shalom, accessed October 2013,>
  4. Tom Dalton, "Salem Temple Considering Merger," The Salem News August 14, 2013,>.


Formal religious charter issued to the Sons of Jacob Congregation.
Land purchased in Danvers for Sons of Jacob cemetery.
Essex Street church purchased in Salem.
Real estate purchased on Lafayette Street in Salem.
Real estate purchased adjacent to Lafayette Street plot.
Sons of Jacobs made affiliate to the United Synagogue of America.
Dedication of Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob.
35th anniversary of the building.
100th anniversary of the Congregation.
50th anniversary of the building.
Temple Shalom’s Board of Directors accepted an offer by Salem Renewal LLC to purchase the 287 Lafayette Street synagogue building.


2 linear feet (2 document boxes)


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.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

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

Processing Information

Processed by Lael Dalal, 2013.

Guide to the Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob (Salem, Mass.) Records, I-553
Processed by Lael Dalal
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at American Ancestors Repository

99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States