Guide to the Records of Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob (Salem, Massachusetts), undated, 1910-2006 [Bulk 1930-1998]

Processed by Lael Dalal

Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, MA 02116



© 2019  Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS, Boston, MA. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Lael Dalal as MS Word document, October 2013. Finding aid was encoded by Christine McEvilly on May 20, 2014. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob (Salem, Massachusetts)
Title: Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob (Salem, Massachusetts) Records
Dates:undated, 1910-2006 [Bulk 1930-1998]
Abstract: 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.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 2 linear feet [2 Banker's boxes]
Identification: I-553
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS Boston, MA
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Historical Note1

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.


1898 Formal religious charter issued to the Sons of Jacob Congregation.
1899 Land purchased in Danvers for Sons of Jacob cemetery.
1903 Essex Street church purchased in Salem.
1936 Real estate purchased on Lafayette Street in Salem.
1940 Real estate purchased adjacent to Lafayette Street plot.
1948 Sons of Jacobs made affiliate to the United Synagogue of America.
1952 Dedication of Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob.
1987 35th anniversary of the building.
1998 100th anniversary of the Congregation.
2003 50th anniversary of the building.
2014 Temple Shalom’s Board of Directors accepted an offer by Salem Renewal LLC to purchase the 287 Lafayette Street synagogue building.
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Scope and Content Note

The Records of Temple Shalom include 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.

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The collection is arranged into 6 series as follows:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Collections and Engagement of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

This collection contains audiovisual or electronic media that requires special equipment to access. Please notify reference staff at 24 hours in advance of needing access.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011

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Related Material

Congregation Anshai Sfard Papers (unprocessed)

Congregation Beth Israel (Cambridge, MA,) I-51

Kellerman Synagogue Photographs, P-931

Louis Winer Papers (unprocessed)

Richard Winer Papers (unprocessed)

Temple B’nai Jacob (Lexington, MA,) I-102

Temple Israel (Boston, MA), I-458

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Temple Shalom of the Congregation Sons of Jacob (Salem, Massachusetts) Records; I-553; box number; folder number; Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.

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Acquisition Information

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

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Access Points

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Click the box in the request column to learn more about viewing materials at the Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS.


Series I: Events, undated, 1954-1998

Box 1.

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This series includes a large amount of items from the Salem Marketplace exhibit and Jewish Heritage Festival which provides historical information about the Temple and includes photographs and negatives of the Temple, history and photographs of Jews of Salem, and photographs of the actual exhibit. It also includes dedication booklets which give a history of the Temple, brochures, fliers, notes and newspaper clippings regarding the anniversaries of the Temple. It also contains photographs from the Salem Temple Shalom Festival, certificates and letters from congressmen and state representatives (including Bill Clinton) congratulating the Temple on their anniversaries, and photographs and invitations to these celebrations. This series also includes a copy of the corporation certificate of the Sons of Jacob from 1898.

1 1 35th Anniversary of the Building 1987 request_box
1 2 100th Anniversary of the Congregation 1998 request_box
1 3 50th Anniversary of the Building 2003 request_box
1 4 Corporation undated request_box
1 5 Dedication 1952 request_box
1 6 Public Bazaar 1954 request_box
1 7 Salem Marketplace Exhibit and Jewish Heritage Festival undated, 1970, 1980, 1982-1986, 1991-1992 request_box
1 8 Salem Temple Shalom Festival 1988 request_box
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Series II: General, undated, 1910-2006

Box 1.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Scope and Content:

This series includes items from organizations within the Temple or Sons of Jacob, such as the Hebrew School, fundraising committee, Sisterhood, Brotherhood, Rabbinate, Choir, Royal Arcanum, Salem Lodge B’nai B’rith, and Young Men’s Hebrew Association/Young Women’s Hebrew Association. There are graduation exercise programs, a small book for a Bar Mitzvah entitled, Treasury of Jewish Thought, newspaper articles and clippings, various programs for organization activities, a cassette tape of a speech by Temple President David Frye, minutes of the Hebrew School Committee meetings, and Temple Shalom promotional materials and correspondence. There is a list of WWII Honor Roll Veterans within Temple Shalom and a postcard from 1914. There is some information of note about particular members represented in the collection: Dr. Jonas Galper, who wrote an article in a medical journal included in the collection, was a student of Temple Shalom’s Hebrew School; brothers Sam and Ben Axelrod served as presidents of Temple Shalom and purchased land for the new Temple; David Frye was a president of the Sons of Jacob and his wife Ida was a member of the Sisterhood of Temple Shalom; and the Racow, Goodman, and Harris families are related by marriage. There is also some material on a reception to honor two prominent members, Sarah Gass and Theodore Simons.

1 9 Ackerman, Irving undated, 1973-1998 request_box
1 10 Axelrod Family 1967-1997 request_box
1 11 Bixby Family undated, 1930-1965 request_box
1 12 Brotherhood of Temple Shalom 1952-1960 request_box
1 13 Filenes Family undated, 2006 request_box
1 14 Frye, David undated, 1949-1998 request_box
1 15 Galper, Dr. Jonas--Journal Article 1999 request_box
1 16 Hebrew School Committee undated, 1946-1960 request_box
1 17 History of Jews in Salem, by Edward Windsor Carberg undated request_box
1 18 Honor Roll WWII Veterans undated request_box
1 19 Kaplan, Dr. Israel 1986-1987 request_box
1 20 Newspaper Clippings undated, 1903-2004 request_box
1 21 Postcard to Miss E.M. Sutherland 1914 request_box
1 22 Promotional Materials and Correspondence undated, 1966-1997 request_box
1 23 Racow, Goodman and Harris Families 1910-1941 request_box
1 24 Reception to Honor Sarah Gass and Theodore Simons undated, 1989-1990 request_box
1 25 Sisterhood of Temple Shalom 1952-1985 request_box
1 26 Speakers at Temple Shalom--Correspondence 1968-1971 request_box
1 27 YMHA and YWHA-Booklets 1931 request_box
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Series III: Governance, undated, 1956-2005

Box 1.

Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Scope and Content:

This series includes membership lists for various organizations within Temple Shalom such as Board of Directors and the Sisterhood, a copy of the purchase agreement of the Essex Street synagogue from 1903, a copy of the purchase agreement of the Salem Jewish Cemetery in Danvers from 1899, congressional meeting notes from 2005, a copy of a loan and discharge agreement for the Sons of Jacob Cemetery from 1901 and a recording of an annual meeting in 2001.

1 28 Congregational Meeting 2005 request_box
1 29 Membership Lists 1956-1976 request_box
1 30 Purchase of Essex Street Synagogue undated request_box
1 31 Purchase of Salem Jewish Cemetery undated request_box
1 32 Recording of Annual Meeting 2001 request_box
1 33 Sons of Jacob Cemetery Loan and Discharge undated request_box
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Series IV: Photographs, undated, 1915-2008

Box 1.

Arranged alphabetically subject of photograph.

Scope and Content:

This series includes black and white and color photographs from the old Essex Street location of Temple Shalom, the dedication ceremony, and Temple members and organizations. It also includes photographs of people and places which are unknown and whose connections to the Temple remain unclear. Photographs of various groups, such as the Royal Arcanum and Hebrew School, are included, as well as a photograph of the 5th Annual Convention of the Young Paolo Zion (Poale Zion), member of Histadut, in Albany, New York in 1926 (Box 1, Folder 45). Please note that folder 38 (Box 1), for Hymen Marcus, does not include the flier for “Round the Family Table” as it indicates in the donor letter within the folder.

1 34 Aronson Family undated request_box
1 35 Bentley School -- Salem High School 1916-1959 request_box
1 36 Choir 1955 request_box
1 37 Cohen, Phillip (Pesach) and Eva undated request_box
1 38 Dedication undated, 1951 request_box
1 39 Essex Street Location undated, 1951 request_box
1 40 Fundraising Committee undated request_box
1 41 Gordon, Max 1915 request_box
1 42 Hebrew School undated, 1948-1969 request_box
1 43 High Holy Days 1977 request_box
1 44 Kerr Family undated request_box
1 45 Lander, Celia “Tsipps”--Article 1998 request_box
1 46 Marcus, Hymen undated, 1938-1980 request_box
1 47 Miscellaneous undated, 1926-2008 request_box
1 48 Rogers, Norman 1931 request_box
1 49 Royal Arcanum -- Masons undated request_box
1 50 Salem Lodge B’nai B’rith undated, 1935 request_box
1 51 Salem Temple Shalom undated, 1951-1952 request_box
1 52 Schacht, Rose undated request_box
1 53 Scholnick, Dora Galper undated, 1926 request_box
1 54 Winer Family undated request_box
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Series V: Publications, undated, 1960-2000

Box 2.

Arranged alphabetically by type of publication.

Scope and Content:

This series includes various newsletters and programs that the Temple published such as bulletins, directories, programs for services, booklets of remembrance, and Temple Shalom news.

2 1 Activities 1975-1998 request_box
2 2 Book of Remembrance 1997-2000 request_box
2 3-5 Bulletins 1969, 1971, 1982-1983 request_box
2 6 Directory 1975-1978 request_box
2 7 Friday Services 1960, 1982 request_box
2 8 News 1973-1975 request_box
2 9-10 Newsletters 1971-1974 request_box
2 11-12 Services 1984 request_box
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Series VI: Rabbis, undated, 1959-2001

Box 2.

Arranged alphabetically by personal name.

Scope and Content:

This series contains papers pertaining to activities conducted under five Rabbis at Temple Shalom. These include correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and newsletters. Of particular interest is the Rabbi Dov Pikelny folder which includes information on the Brotherhood, kindergarten at the temple, various speakers, and many other activities. There are letters and speeches reflecting social and racial issues (such as a speech by Harry Golden), urban development, law enforcement, and a photograph of Ethiopian Rabbi David Mathew Doré from Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation. There is a folder with information on the first female Rabbi hired on the North Shore, Rabbi Ilana Rosansky. There are also lists of the Rabbinate of Temple Shalom.

2 13 Rabbi Dov Pikelny undated, 1971-1976 request_box
2 14 Rabbi Gerald Goldstein and Rabbi Samuel Klein undated, 1959-1975 request_box
2 15 Rabbi Ilana Rosansky undated, 2001 request_box
2 16 Rabbi Sam Kenner 1998 request_box
2 17 Rabbinate undated, 1961-1981 request_box
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