Guide to the Jewish Community of Peabody (Mass.) Records
undated, 1906-2009

I-581

Processed by Lindsay Sprechman

American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives

99-101 Newbury St.

Boston, Massachusetts

Phone: (617) 226-1245

Email: reference@ajhsboston.org

URL: http://www.ajhsboston.org

© 2017, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD by Lindsay Sprechman in June 2015. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore
Title: Jewish Community of Peabody (Mass.) Records
Dates:undated, 1906-2009
Abstract: This collection contains a range of materials documenting the Jewish community of Peabody, Mass. Included are materials on Jewish-owned businesses, Jewish individuals and families, and Jewish organizations in Peabody. The collection was established by the Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore through many separate donations of materials relating to Peabody’s Jewish community.
Languages: The collection is in English and Hebrew.
Quantity: 1.25 linear feet (1 document box, 4 oversized folders )
Identification: I-581
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS Boston, MA
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Historical Note
The cast of 'Bar Kochba' at Peabody Hebrew School, March 31, 1918

The cast of 'Bar Kochba' at Peabody Hebrew School, March 31, 1918.

Peabody’s Jewish community dates back to 1896, when the town’s first Jewish settlers, Louis Karelitz and Charles Halper, arrived from Russia. By the turn of the century, there were fifteen Jewish families in Peabody, and by 1909, the population grew to 100 families. Most of these people came from Russia, Poland, Lithuania, and Germany. A group of Sephardic Jews from Turkey settled in Peabody as well, with five families arriving in 1906 and fifteen more by 1909.

The Jewish population continually increased, especially due to World War I and the Russian Revolution. About 200 Jewish families lived in Peabody in 1920, and 350 in 1940. Following World War II, the number rose to 400, and by the end of the 1960s, it grew to 1,200 families. In 2002, it was estimated that Peabody’s Jewish population was 4,500, made up of 2,000 families.

Many Jewish immigrants who had worked in the leather business in their native countries came to Peabody because of Peabody’s prominence as the largest leather manufacturing area in the United States. Jewish residents established leather shops and tanneries. Other residents opened merchant businesses, including furniture, dry goods, clothing, and shoe stores. Jewish residents also went into professional work, including law, medicine, and dentistry.

Early religious services were held on Main Street at the corner of Mill Street, and later in Red Man’s Hall on Foster Street. In 1909, Congregation Sons of Israel was established, and its building was dedicated in 1913. In 1914, Congregation Anshe Sfard was organized and built on Little’s Lane, but closed in 1978. A Sephardic congregation, Congregation Tifereth Israel, was also established. As more Jewish families arrived in Peabody, further congregations were organized. In 1958, residents established the Conservative Temple Ner Tamid, and its building was dedicated in 1965. In 1958 as well, Temple Beth Shalom, a Reform synagogue, was also organized and its building was dedicated in 1965.

The Peabody Hebrew School was opened in 1912 under the sponsorship of Congregation Sons of Israel and the Peabody Hebrew School Sisterhood, then known as the Ladies Auxiliary. In 1939, the Hebrew Community Center was opened on Washington Street. It housed the Peabody Hebrew School and provided space for the many Jewish organizations in Peabody. The Hebrew School and Community Center both closed in the 1970s due to declining membership. However, in 1979, the North Shore Jewish Community Center was established to serve the community’s needs. It was later re-named the North Suburban Jewish Community Center.

Peabody’s Jewish community formed numerous clubs and organizations. In 1907, the local branch of the Workmen’s Circle was established and remained active for many years. A local chapter of the Independent Order of B’rith Abraham was organized in 1913 and remained active until 1930. In 1916, the Maple Hill Cemetery Association was established and a burial ground on North Central Street was dedicated. In 1913, Jewish residents incorporated the Popular Credit Union – one of the first credit unions in the state – in order to provide financial assistance to new immigrants. Other charitable and religious organizations were formed, including B’nai B’rith, Hebrew Ladies Aid Society, Jewish Pioneer Women, Hadassah, Women’s ORT, and United Jewish Appeal.

References

Material from the collection.

Chronology

1896 First Jewish immigrants arrive in Peabody.
1907 Local chapter of Workmen’s Circle organized.
1909 Congregation Sons of Israel established.
1912 Peabody Hebrew School opens.
1913 Congregation Sons of Israel building dedicated.
1913 Local branch of Independent Order of B’rith Abraham organized.
1913 Popular Credit Union incorporated.
1914 Congregation Anshe Sfard established.
1916 Maple Hill Cemetery Association founded.
1922 Congregation Tifereth Israel chartered.
1939 Hebrew Community Center opens.
1958 Temple Beth Shalom established.
1958 Temple Ner Tamid established.
1965 Temple Beth Shalom building dedicated.
1965 Temple Ner Tamid building dedicated.
1970s Hebrew Community Center closes.
1970s Peabody Hebrew School closes.
1978 Congregation Anshe Sfrad closes.
1979 North Shore Jewish Community Center established.
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Scope and Content Note

The Records of the Jewish Community of Peabody, Mass. contain photographs, newspaper clippings, organizational records, programs, awards, and correspondence. These materials document the Jewish community of Peabody, including its many businesses, clubs and religious organizations. Also documented are Jewish individuals and families who have lived in Peabody. Of particular interest may be the records of the Chevara Kadisha of the Maple Hill Cemetery, which lists (in Hebrew) the names and dates of bodies ritually prepared for burial. A translated copy is included. The collection was established by the Jewish Heritage Center of the North Shore through many separate donations of materials pertaining to the Peabody Jewish community.

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Arrangement

This collection is arranged into four series:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives 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
email: reference@ajhs.org

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Related Material

Temple Ner Tamid (Peabody, Mass.), I-561

Congregation Anshe Sfard, I-556

Jewish Rehabilitation Center for the Aged of the North Shore, I-575

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Jewish Community of Peabody (Mass.) Records; I-581; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

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Acquisition Information

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

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Access Points

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

Container List

Click the box in the request column to learn more about viewing materials at the New England Archives of AJHS.

 

Series I: Businesses,  undated, 1957-1992

In English.
Box 1, Folders 1-11.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series contains materials related to Jewish-owned and operated businesses in Peabody. It includes lists of businesses, photographs of storefronts, business advertisements, and newspaper clippings detailing these businesses. Many of the included records focus on the leather business, which was a key industry in Peabody during the 20th century.

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 1                      Alper’s Men’s Clothing undated request_box
1 2                      Ferman Leather Company undated request_box
1 3                      Foster Leather Company undated request_box
1 4                      Herman’s Boot Shop undated, 1957 request_box
1 5                      Korn Leather Company undated request_box
1 6                      List of Jewish-owned Businesses undated request_box
1 7                      List of Jewish-owned Leather Establishments 1983 request_box
1 8                      Louis Karelitz Furniture Company undated request_box
1 9                      PictureTel 1992 request_box
1 10                  Sheinhit Slaughter House 1980 request_box
1 11                  Weisberg Meat Market undated request_box
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Series II: Organizations, undated, 1916-2005

In English and Hebrew.
Box 1, Folders 12-34; OS folders 1-4.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series contains materials related to Jewish organizations established in Peabody. These organizations include synagogues, community centers, cemetery associations, and charitable organizations, and fraternal clubs. Materials include minutes, membership lists, programs, awards, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and photographs. Of particular interest may be the records of the Chevara Kadisha of the Maple Hill Cemetery, which lists (in Hebrew) the names and dates of bodies ritually prepared for burial. A translated copy is included. Some items, including photographs and congregation seating charts, are located in an oversized box.

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 12 B’nai B’rith undated, 1972-1982 request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OS 1 B’nai B’rith—Oversized Award 1982 request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 13 Brandeis Women’s Committee 1958 request_box
1 14 Congregation Sons of Israel undated, 1977-2001 request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OS 2 Congregation Sons of Israel—Oversized Photograph 1980 request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 15 Congregation Tifereth Israel undated, 1979-1997 request_box
1 16 Hadassah undated request_box
1 17 Hebrew Ladies Aid Society undated request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OS 3 Hebrew Ladies Aid Society—Oversized Photo undated request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 18 Holocaust Center, Boston North 2001-2002 request_box
1 19 Independent Order of B’rith Abraham (IOBA) undated request_box
1 20 Maple Hill Cemetery undated, 1916-1940, 1980-2002 request_box
1 21 North Shore Jewish Historical Center 1992-1997 request_box
1 22 North Suburban Jewish Community Center undated, 1984-1997 request_box
1 23 Peabody Hebrew Community Center undated, 1939-1980 request_box
1 24 Peabody Hebrew School undated, 1932-2005 request_box
1 25 Peabody Hebrew School—Sisterhood 1925-1960 request_box
1 26 Peabody Hebrew School—Sisterhood Meeting Minutes 1925-1936 request_box
1 27 Peabody Hebrew School—Sisterhood Meeting Minutes 1936-1942 request_box
1 28 Peabody Hebrew School—Sisterhood Meeting Minutes 1942-1955 request_box
1 29 Popular Credit Union 1926 request_box
1 30 Temple Beth Shalom undated, 1963-2003 request_box
1 31 Temple Ner Tamid undated, 1956-1966, 1990-1999 request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OS 4 Temple Ner Tamid Seating Chart 1962-1963 request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 32 United Jewish Appeal 1947-1948 request_box
1 33 Women’s ORT 1953 request_box
1 34 Workmen’s Circle 1989 request_box
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Series III: People, undated, 1906-2009

In English.
Box 1, Folders 35-61.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, family histories and photographs of Jewish individuals and families in Peabody.

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 35 Ainbender Family 1942-2009 request_box
1 36 Ankeles Family undated, 1958-2000 request_box
1 37 Bernstein, Arthur 1991 request_box
1 38 Cohen, Herbert 1985 request_box
1 39 Edelstein, Jacob 1906 request_box
1 40 Gass, Nathan undated request_box
1 41 Hasday, Robert and Fanny undated request_box
1 42 Herbster, Irving undated, 1979-1997 request_box
1 43 Isaacson, Morris circa 1930s request_box
1 44 Karelitz Family undated, 1966-1979 request_box
1 45 Kirstein, David undated, 1942, 2000 request_box
1 46 Komarin, Alice and Katharine 1918-1939 request_box
1 47 Lampert Family undated request_box
1 48 Lippa, Sonia 1982 request_box
1 49 Madow, Mary undated, 1981 request_box
1 50 Menken Family 1942-1953 request_box
1 51 Newton, Jeffrey and Myra 1987 request_box
1 52 Remis Family 1939-2002 request_box
1 53 Richmond Family undated request_box
1 54 Ring, Benjamin 1999-2003 request_box
1 55 Scholnick Family undated, 1954-1966 request_box
1 56 Schwerin, Doris 1987 request_box
1 57 Strauss Family undated request_box
1 58 Tanzer Family 1923-1926, 2003 request_box
1 59 Velleman, Harold undated request_box
1 60 Weinstein, Barnett 1953 request_box
1 61 Zofras, Sumner 1989 request_box
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Series IV: Miscellaneous, undated, 1926-2002

In English.
Box 1, Folders 62-69; OS folder 5.
Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

This series includes miscellaneous materials related to the Jewish community in Peabody. Included are newspaper clippings documenting anti-Semitic vandalism, information and photographs on particular segments of the Jewish community (including students, athletes and war veterans), and photographs of homes of Jewish citizens. In addition, this series includes photographs and drawings of Peabody, including of the Soldier’s Monument, Peabody Square, the O’Shea Building, and the Revolution Monument, as well as a non-working DVD of the Rabbi Samuel Langer Database.

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 62 Anti-Semitism 1993 request_box
1 63 General undated, 1971-1977 request_box
1 64 Peabody Athletes 1926-1949, 1990 request_box
1 65 Peabody Jewish History 1968-2002 request_box
1 66 Peabody Scholars 1995 request_box
1 67 Peabody War Veterans undated, circa 1975 request_box
1 68 Where Peabody’s Jews Lived undated, 1980 request_box
1 69 Rabbi Samuel Langer Database DVD undated request_box
BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OS 5 Views of Peabody undated request_box
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