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Agudath Achim Synagogue - Beaver Falls PA

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In 1879 a small orthodox Jewish congregation relocated from New Brighton to Beaver Falls. They held services in private homes and other locations for many years and in 1904 they secured a charter for the Agudath Achim (meaning “Society of Brothers”) Congregation. Two years later they acquired six acres of property in Patterson and White Townships and started the Agudath Achim Cemetery. In took a few years, but on Sunday, September 6, 1914, the new Agudath Achim Synagogue (shown above), located on Sixth Avenue and Fifth Street, was officially dedicated. (c1955) Full Size

The congregation of the Agudath Achim Synagogue, which I believed housed both Orthodox and Conservative elements, grew in the coming years and was part of a vibrant Jewish community in Beaver Falls. (c1958) Full Size

This house, located at #1105 Ninth Avenue in Beaver Falls, was once the private home of the Rabbi of the congregation. (c1958) Full Size

In 1955 discussion started on consolidating several Jewish congregations and related organizations under one roof, “…to unify the Jewish population of Beaver Valley, and to establish a suitable Center for the furtherance of Jewish community life through educational, charitable, spiritual, cultural and social activities in accordance with Jewish ideals.” Two years later plans for the Beaver Valley United Jewish Community Center, to be built in Chippewa Township, were developed. Groundbreaking took place in November 1958 and a cornerstone laying ceremony (shown above) took place on August 9, 1959. (Aug 1959) Full Size

The new Beaver Valley United Jewish Community Center (UJCC) in Chippewa Township was opened with a New Years’ Eve celebration on December 31, 1959. It housed the congregations of the orthodox Agudath Achim Synagogue, and reform Beth Shalom Synagogue, and several Hebrew organizations. It had two sanctuaries, several classrooms, and a few meeting rooms. A small group of traditionalists may have remained behind at the old Agudath Achim Synagogue in Beaver Falls, but that building was soon after. (1960) Full Size

The rear of the new United Jewish Community Center. The building was officially dedicated on Sunday, May 1, 1960. The center was in use for many years until declining membership forced the leadership to sale the building in the 1990’s. The Agudath Achim Congregation continued to hold services in a smaller leased building. In January 2006 their leader, the Rabbi Martin Shorr, was reassigned to take over the congregation of the Temple Hadar Israel in New Castle. The Agudath Achim Congregation utilized a temporary pastor but finally closed its doors – after 102 years of service – on March 31, 2006. (1960) Full Size

The leadership of the Agudath Achim Congregation in early 1960. (1960) Full Size

The main sanctuary of the United Jewish Community Center. (1960) Full Size

A program from the dedication ceremony held on Sunday, May 1, 1960. (1960)

Another view of the main sanctuary. (1960)

A classroom of the Hebrew School. Phyllis Caplan, the teacher, is seated on left, while Joseph Hollander, the school administrator, is standing in middle. (1960) Full Size

A modern day view of the old synagogue in Beaver Falls, now connected to a former school building next door. The synagogue staircase has been removed as and most of the windows have been bricked up. Today both structures are in use as work/storage areas by the Atlas Supply Company, a contracting outfit specializing in kitchen remodeling. (Aug 2010) Full Size




    Herbert Gilbert · 04/08/2018 08:17 PM · #