Guide to the Records of Congregation Ahabot Sholom, undated, 1982-2001

Processed by Kora Welsh

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 Kora Welsh as MS Word document, September 2014. Finding aid was encoded by Christine McEvilly on December 29, 2014. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Congregation Ahabat Sholom
Title: Congregation Ahabot Sholom Records
Dates:undated, 1982-2001
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.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: 1.5 linear feet (1 document box, 1 OS box)
Identification: I-568
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS Boston, MA
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Historical Note

Congregation Ahabat Sholom1

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.2 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.”3

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 2014.4


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.
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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.

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The collection is arranged into five 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.

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, Lynn (Mass.) Records, I-556

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Congregation Ahabot Sholom Records; I-568; 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: Activities and Events, undated, 1892-2008

Box 1.

Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Scope and Content:

This series documents Congregation Ahabat Sholom’s social, cultural, and religious activities, ranging from the congregation’s daily events and operations to landmark moments in the congregation’s development. Newspaper articles highlight Rabbi Zaitchik’s leadership and contributions to the congregation and the international Jewish community, Hebrew school student achievements, and information regarding active individuals and groups. Newsletters, publications, and programs document the membership experience in the congregation. This series is arranged alphabetically.

1 1 100th Anniversary Celebration 2001 request_box
1 2 Anniversary Program Books 1966,1976-1977, 1985, 1990, 2001 request_box
1 3 Brotherhood Congregation undated request_box
1 4 Community Calendars 1997-1998 request_box
1 5-6 Commemorative Materials undated, 2002-2003 request_box
1 7 History undated, 1982-1955 request_box
1 8 Jewish Organizations 1982, 1996, 2008 request_box
1 9 News Clippings undated, 1953-1998 request_box
1 10 News Clippings—Anniversary Features 1951-2001 request_box
1 11 News Clippings—Hebrew School undated, 1948-1957 request_box
1 12 News Clippings—Zaitchik Features undated, 1956-1997 request_box
1 13 Newsletters 1976-1997 request_box
1 14 Programs and Invitations 1962-1997 request_box
1 15 Synagogue Reconstruction circa 1956-1960 request_box
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Series II: Governance, undated, 1948-1998

Box 1.

Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Scope and Content:

This series contains administrative documents regarding Congregation Ahabat Sholom’s general management of membership and resources. Material in this series includes correspondence, budget ledgers, and membership lists. This series is arranged alphabetically.

1 16 Correspondence 1948,1961-1964, 1971, 1982, 1997-1998 request_box
1 17 Income and Expenses 1997-1998 request_box
1 18 Membership undated, 1966, 1990 request_box
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Series III: Sisterhood Congregation, 1954-1999

Box 1.

Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Scope and Content:

The records in this series describe the activities and events conducted by the Ahabat Sholom Sisterhood Congregation. Administrative details are available in the board meeting records and agendas discussing policy issues and organizational proceedings. News clippings describe the activities of prominent members and the installation of officers, as well as social functions planned and performed by the Sisterhood. The Sisterhood’s annual donor dinner is commemorated in program books. This series is arranged alphabetically.

1 19 Annual Donor Dinner 1976-1978 request_box
1 20-22 Annual Donor Dinner Programs 1955-1968, 1976-1977, 1982, 1989-1997 request_box
1 23 Board Meetings 1994-1999 request_box
1 24 Operations 1959, 1962, 1996-1997 request_box
1 25 News Clippings 1955-1964, 1991-1992 request_box
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Series IV: Photographs, undated, 1945-1996

Box 1.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Scope and Content:

This series contains photographic material produced by members of Congregation Ahabat Sholom to document their significant achievements and active participants. Notable subjects include members of the Brotherhood Congregation, Rabbi Zaitchik and his family, Hebrew school students, and the development of the Ocean Street synagogue. This series is arranged alphabetically.

1 26 Brotherhood Breakfast October 30, 1977 request_box
1 27 Brotherhood Membership Dinner Dance November 13, 1977 request_box
1 28 Celebration for Rabbi Zaitchik undated request_box
1 29 Combined Installation of Officers of Congregation Anshai Sfard and Brotherhood May 29, 1977 request_box
1 30-31 General undated, 1925-1996 request_box
1 32 Mother of the Year Award 1978, 1980-1982 request_box
1 33 National Conference of Synagogue Youth undated request_box
1 34 Sisterhood Fashion Show 1955 request_box
1 35 Students undated, 1958-1970s request_box
1 36 Zaitchik Family undated, 1945-1995 request_box
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Series V: Oversized, undated, 1922-2001

Box 2.

Arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Scope and Content:

This series contains the oversized records of Congregation Ahabat Sholom’s development and activities. These materials include scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings featuring members of the congregation, photographs of members gathered for various special occasions, and certificates commemorating significant milestones achieved by the congregation. This series is arranged alphabetically.

2 1 Miscellaneous 1971-1979, 2001 request_box
2 2 News Clippings 1953-2001 request_box
2 3 Photographs undated, 1922, 1959-1976 request_box
2 Scrapbook (Green) July 20, 1940-November 10, 1942 request_box
2 Scrapbook (Gibson) November 12, 1942-September 5, 1944 request_box
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