This document from 1934 was generously provided by Morton Feinberg of the Agudas Achim Synagogue of Brockton, Massachusetts. The name of the author was not indicated on the document.
AGUDAS ACHIM AT 35
Brockton is one of the best organized Jewish communities in New England. There are synagogues, a temple, a Jewish Center, a Hebrew school, a Sunday school, cemeteries, charitable institutions, lodges, labor groups, and other organizations to serve the 3000 Jews in the City of Brockton, institutions and organizations which are supported in as great a measure as similar organizations are supported in other cities.
In 1899, Brockton had so few Jews that it was difficult to obtain a minyan when the Angel of Death paid one of his dreaded visits to the city, and it was necessary for the survivors to say Kaddish. For the holidays, what few Jews there were in Brockton had to go to Boston and other cities, there being no religious services conducted in Brockton. It was not until a year later that the first minyan was assembled, in the house of Louis Shimelovich and out of that assembly grew the citys first Congregation. An influx of several Jewish families, at that time, to the city, made a daily minyan possible, and these early settlers, poor working men, peddlers, most of them, immediately assumed the burden of maintaining religious services, organized a Congregation and made plans for a House of Worship. The first Torah was presented by Jacob and Sarah Shimelovich to the newly organized Congregation, and the names of these pioneers deserve to be inscribed in the permanent records of the community: Louis Shimelovich, Jacob Shimelovich, Harris Rubin, Joseph Zimmerman, Max Clasky, Harris Shimelovich, Morris Dlugg, Mr. Carp, A. Kaufman, Joseph Hurwitz, Louis Barger, Adolph Rosen, Myer Fine, Louis Fine, Nathan Shapiro, I. Max Rasher, Shimmen Rubin, Harry Polk, Morris Stone, Harry A. Stone, and Alfred Freedman. The first president was Harry A. Stone. The first Gaboim were Louis Shimelovich and Morris Dlugg.
The daily minyans were held at the home of Louis Shimelovich, and for the Sabbath and High Holidays a room was hired in a building that stood at the corner of West Railroad Avenue and Lincoln Street. Later on, in October 1901, some new members came in and joined the Congregation, among them were Nathan Butler, Joseph H. Herman, Solomon Fox, Louis Newberg, Simon Oppenheim, Max Rusacow, and Louis Warshauer, with the result that the Congregation was incorporated with a charter under the name of Agudas Achim. During the year 1908, a house was purchased on Plymouth Street, which was converted into a Synagogue, and was used until 1908, when the Synagogue on Stillman Avenue was erected and was used as a Synagogue until the present Synagogue on Crescent Street was erected.
One of the first off-shoots of the Congregation was the first Talmud Torah, whose first home was in the Masonic Building, was was erected in 1905. The members of the first Talmud Torah were: Albert Cohen, Myer Fine, Hyman Hurwitz, I. Max Rasher, Harry stepper, Harry A. Stone, Y. N. Swabsky, Joseph Zimmerman. These men were assisted by an organization called the Ladies Hebrew Circle, now no longer in existence. The first Officers of the Talmud Torah were: Harry A. Stone, President; Albert Cohen, Vice President; H. N. Swabsky, Treasurer; I. Max Rasher, Secretary; and Dr. Nachman Heller, Teacher.
The spiritual life of the Congregation was well served by a number of men, first of whom was Myer Fine, who served as cantor and general religious leader of the community. Rabbi Nachman was one of the early rabbis. Later there was Rabbi Abraham Salesky, whose final resting place is in this city and whose memory is greatly revered. Rabbi A. S. Borvick, the Congregations present beloved leader, has been with us since 1918. At times there were rabbis from Boston to conduct the services but for many years the Congregation has been large enough to maintain its own leaders.
In 1904 the Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Association was started with several of the older Jewish women as charter members: among them were Mrs. Jennie Shimelovich, Mrs. Sarah Shimelovich, Mrs. Barney Goldman, Mrs. Max Rusacow and Mrs. Harris Rubin. This organization has been in existence ever since, doing charitable work for all citizens in Brockton regardless of race, creed or color, and today continues to serve as a worthy organization assisting and adding the poor.
In 1919 Harry A. Stone was elected President of the Synagogue and served in that capacity until 1933.
In 1919 a committee was elected to build a new Synagogue and Talmud Torah, which is the present Synagogue on Crescent Street. The Committee was as follows: Harry A. Stone, Chairman; Alfred Freedman, Treasurer; Rabbi A. S. Borvick, Assistant Treasurer; Bernard B. Hollman, Secretary; others on the Committee were: Jacob Winneg, Benjamin Winneg, Manual Miller, Nathan Barron, Benjamin Miller, Joseph Stone, I. Klien, Samuel Fish, Israel Rubin, Abraham Meyers, Samuel Beal, Fred Robinson, Albert K. Shimelovich, Nathan Weiss, Mr. Marcus and Joseph A. Stone, all of whose names appear on a bronze tablet, which was presented to the Synagogue by the Committee.
The pews of the Synagogue were presented by the Ladies Auxiliary and the Sisterhood, under the leadership of Mrs. Alfred Freedman.
In 1929 the Sisterhood was organized with the following charter members: Nathan Newman, Albert E. Shimelovich, Harold Clasky, Allen Rosen, William Winneg, Louis Lang, Ira Franklin, Fred Robinson, Samuel Beal and Sidney Grossman. They were instrumental in obtaining funds for the erection of the fence that now surrounds the Synagogue, and in other ways beautifying the Synagogue grounds.
Two new organizations now existing in the Orthodox Jewish community of Brockton are the Ladies Auxiliary of the Talmud Torah and the Sisterhood of the Synagogue, both serving and valuable organizations, striving and perpetuating the cause of traditional Judaism in Brockton.
From these early beginnings, a large community has been built up, which the Synagogue on Crescent Street and its adjoining Hebrew school, seeks to serve at all times. The few pioneers, who 36 years ago banded together perpetuating the traditions of Judaism in Brockton and building on a sound foundation, the faith of their fathers, and this faith in the guiding light of their followers to this day.