Brockton, Massachusetts, USA
A Shoe Store on Brockton's
Crescent Street, around 1915
This web site is devoted to the history of
the Jewish community of Brockton, Massachusetts with an emphasis on the genealogical resources
available for the Brockton researcher. Articles on the history of Brockton's Jewish community,
information on Brockton's Jewish cemeteries and the availability of
directories, naturalization records, and voters registration records and more
can be found here.
Brockton, Massachusetts is a small city located 20 miles South of
Boston. From the mid-1750s through the 1920s, Brockton was a center for SHOE MANUFACTURING. Brockton's shoemaking industry attracted many East European
Jews familiar with the shoemaking craft practiced in their shtetls.
Most of Brockton's residents were connected to the shoemaking industry
at the turn of the 20th century when immigrants began to make Brockton their home. The Jewish population of Brockton was at its height in the 1940s and 1950s when it was
estimated to be between 4,000 and 5,000.
The Jewish neighborhood of Brockton developed around Bay Street and Crescent Street located East of Brockton's
In 1899 the Agudas Achim Orthodox Synagogue was founded. Agudas Achim served as the main synagogue for Brockton's Jews through the 1950s. In 1934 a history of
the Agudas Achim synagogue
was prepared for a 35th anniversary program. This history contains all of
the names of those involved in founding the Agudas Achim Shul:
Agudas Achim at 35
The Young Men and Young Women's Hebrew
Association (YM and YWHA) was a vital part of Brockton's Jewish community in the first half of the 20th
century. In 1949 a long-time Brockton newspaper columnist wrote an article remembering the
founders and early days of the YM and YWHA:
of the YM and YWHA
In May of 1999 Agudas
Achim Synagogue celebrated its centennial. Two
newspaper articles covered this event listing the many people active throughout
the years in Brockton's Jewish community:
Agudas Achim Centennial
Anshei Sfard, the Rusische or Russian Congregation
Brockton's Anshei Sfard synagogue merged with Agudas
Achim in 1903. The Anshei Sfard shul came back to life over
the next five decades in a sporadic fashion. It served disgruntled members of
the other Brockton shuls as well as serving
overflow High Holiday crowds of the other shuls.
Former Brockton resident Jim Katz is the grandson of Jacob Levin, the 'Rabbi
and Janitor' of Anshei Sfard
from the 1940's to the 1960's when the building was demolished in an urban
renewal project. Please contact Jim
for further information.. Rusische
shuls were usually founded by Jews from the Ukraine. Anshe Sfard
refers to a prayer style adopted by the mostly Chassidic Jews who lived in the Ukraine. It does not designate a Sephardic congregation.
Naturalization records for Brockton are available from 1885-1906:
Brockton Street Directories are available
Voters Registration Cards are available from
the first half of the 20th Century:
Labor League and Labor Lyceum Papers are
available from 1914-1931:
Information on Brockton's Jewish cemeteries:
THE COMMUNITY TODAY
The Jewish Community of Brockton is estimated
to be around 1500 as of 2000. Most Jews who live in Brockton and in neighboring towns attend the Conservative Temple
Beth Emunah Synagogue which you can learn about by visiting their web
site. Agudas Achim
Synagogue (Orthodox) closed in 2005.Temple Israel (Reform) moved to North Easton, contact:
Temple Israel, P. O. Box 10, North
Beth Emunah’s Preservation project to save city’s Jewish history
The Brockton Public Library can help you in
your research. The reference department will locate obituaries for a
small fee. The BPL web site has a page devoted to Brockton history and genealogy resources. Contact the Library
Brockton Public Library 304
Brockton, MA 02301-5300
The Boston Jewish
Advocate Obituary Database
Index to over 23,000 obituary notices
from this Massachusetts newspaper, 1905-2003.
This database lists 67 persons born in Brockton.
The Boston Jewish
Advocate Wedding Announcements Database
Index to over 27,000 wedding
announcements from this Massachusetts newspaper, 1905-2003.
This database lists 495 persons, bride or groom, that hailed from Brockton
Rabbi Aaron Gorovitz Marriages
This database contains records of 971
marriages, 1910 to 1956, performed by Rabbi Aaron Gorovitz
of Boston, as extracted from his personal notebooks.
This database lists 9 persons, bride or groom, that hailed from Brockton.
Aid Society (HIAS), Boston Arrivals
Records of over 24,000 Jewish immigrant
arrivals via Boston, 1882-1929
This database lists 101 persons whose
destination was Brockton. Lists ship name arrival date.
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
These cards can
be viewed at Ancestry.com. A subscription is required. Your local
library may have access to Ancestry's databases.
should be encouraged to list their surname/town interests in the JewishGen Family
Find Brockton researchers by registering on the Family Finder and
then entering “Brockton” for town name.
about Washington attorney and Brockton native Kenneth Feinberg
Biography for Brockton native
Herbert Warren Wind
Brockton community profile
The Brockton Historical Society
Jewish Cemeteries Association of Massachusetts
Whitman, Massachusetts is a small town located east of Brockton down the road from Crescent Street. Jewish
families that settled in Whitman were considered part of Brockton's Jewish Community. The Whitman Public Library
can help you in your research. Contact the library at:
Whitman Public Library 100 Webster
Whitman, MA 02382
Whitman community profile
I am indebted to Rena Hurwitz, a life long
resident of Brockton for helping me in my research. Rena's HURWITZ
family settled in Brockton around 1900, the same time as my own HURWITZ family
settled in Brockton. Though we do not appear to be related, Rena
treated me "like family" and hosted me while I visited the place
where my great-grandparents and grandparents lived in the first three decades
of the 20th Century. Rena helped me learn about Brockton's rich Jewish history. I also want to thank
Morton Feinberg of Agudas Achim
for providing me the documents which revealed my great-grandfather's
contribution to the founding of Brockton's oldest synagogue. Thank you also to Steve Hollman for supplying me with a map of Brockton which shows the streets where the Jewish Community
first existed. Some of these streets no longer exist.
more information on the Jewish community of Brockton, contact Steven
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July 27, 2005
© Steven Weiss, 2000