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Centennial Monograph: The Jewish People in Maynard


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Centennial Monograph: The Jewish People in Maynard


A review of the associations and influence of the Jewish immigrant community on Maynard.


Birger Koski





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The Jewish people began settling in Maynard around the turn of the century, the same period that brought In most of the many ethnic groups that comprised the majority of the population in town. No doubt there were a few families earlier than that but there is no record that is available to us.

We are aware of only one family, the Julius Loewe's, who ran a combination rooming house and tavern at Harriman Court. This family must have settled here in the 1880's as Julius was active In town affairs by 1890, being on the town committee to purchase land and build a fire station for the new town fire department that year.

Our first news report comes in 1901 concerning a Jewish christening taking place in the West End on July 12, and the second in September, 1903 that the Jewish people with a Rabbi in their midst will celebrate New Year’s Eve, September 22, with exercises In Masonic Hall. Rabbi Greenberg, President S. Goldenberg and Vice-president James Shepard were the leaders of the congregation of fifty. Starting the following year the religious holidays were celebrated in Odd Fellows Hall, Nason Street, through 1920.

A January 1907 news article gives as the following officers for the Maynard Hebrew Association: President Max Blatt; Vice-president S.L. Bloomberg; Treasurer David Wiseberg; Secretary Julius Goldberg; Board of Directors Sam Goldberg, S. Sperberg, Harris Cohn and David Wineberg. It was decided to remove the Torah to the home of Max Blatt.

Officers for 1913 were President Max Blatt; Vice-president I. Liberman; Secretary U. Feldman and Treasurer J. Bressler.

March 20, 1914: Rabbl Sherr became the new Rabbi of the congregation. The officers that year were President Samuel Lerer, Vice-president Isaac Liverman, Treasurer Ely Gruber, Financial Secretary Rabbi I. W. Sherr, Recording Secretary Mr. Fineberg, Trustees Max Blatt, Fineberg and Bakka.

September 10, 1915: Rosh Hosannah was celebrated by two Jewish congregations, one in Odd Fellows Hall with Rabbi Sherr and the other In Cannon's Hall (Main Street) with Rabbi H. Raymond. This second congregation, it is our understanding, was the ADZ Israel Society, comprised of Acton and Concord residents.

Oct 8, 1915: the elections for the Maynard Hebrew Association took place at their own rooms on Summer Street with the following officers: President Ely Gruber, Vice-president Ely Goldman, Recording Secretary H. Fish, Financial Secretary Rabbi I. W. Sherr, Treasurer Mr. Backrach, Trustees Max Blatt, William Licherman and David Bander, and Inside Guard Sam Strousberg.

The Jewish New Year in 1920 (Sept. 17) was celebrated by the Maynard Hebrew Association in Odd Fellows Hall with Rabbi Silver of Brookline assisted by Rabbi Sherr and the ADV Israel Society in Eagles Hall with Rabbi Jacob Slavetsky of Boston.

The following year 1921 (Jan.28) a Maynard and Hudson Jewish Youth Association was formed at Riverside Hall with officers as follows: President Louis J. Rickels, Vice-president Mrs. Samuel Balkman, Secretary Miss Pearl Lerer, Treasurer Charles Lerer, Entertainment Committee Mrs. Joel Glickman, Misses Dera Sherr, Jennie Feinberg, Marion Sperberg and Benjamin Gruber. This organization known as the Double Triangle (Feb. 4) was an educational and social club.

The following meeting (Feb. 4) the entertainment committee was enlarged to include Morris Feinberg, Bessie Bomstein, and Ell Kesler, and the educational committee additions were Miss Sperberg, Martin Gruber, Edith Rives and Annie Siger.

Around this period in the early twenties the Hebrew Association purchased a house on Nason Street and removing it to Acton Street renovated it for use as the Rodoff Shalom Synagogue.

In the early 1930's( May 13, 1932) the Maynard Jewish Council was organized for athletic and social purposes.

In 1933 (Nov. 24) a basketball team was organized at Pastime Hall, on Harriman Court, with the following as candidates; Bachrach Bothers, Seder Brothers, Glickman Brothers, Lerer Brothers, Gruber, Swartz, Liverman, Arkin and Silverman, and with Michael Zapareski as coach.

In 1940 (July 5) a Jewish Ladies Aid Society was organized to raise funds for Jewish refugees fleelng Hitler Germany.

This paper would be derelict in its duty if it did not mention that the history of the town of Maynard would have a void in it but for the efforts of a Jewish businessman. The reference is to Samuel Lerer, proprietor of the New Idea Clothing Store and operator of the moving picture theatre in Riverside Hall. He had the moving pictures taken of the 50th anniversary celebration of Maynard to show at his theatre.

He knew not the significance of that for posterity but the Maynard Historical Society as possessors fifty years later of a 16 mm copy of this film, can be ever grateful to him for being able to show a moving picture of the 50th anniversary at our hundredth anniversary.

By B.R. Koski
Read at the 1970 meeting of the Maynard Historical Society.
All dates from issues of the Maynard News.