First synagogue in the city, South End
When driving south on Rt. 18, if you stop at the Gomes School, go around the corner to Second Street and driving north on Second Street, you will come to a corner indicating Howland Street.
It was in 1893, when the Jewish community had grown large enough to require a place of worship other than a private residence, that the first synagogue was established, Ahavath Achim. The first president of the congregation was Nathan Lumiansky, brother of Bernard Lumiansky who later became the first President of Tifereth Israel Synagogue. Rosh Hashanah services were held here and even, a Cantor, the Reverend Israel Isaac Yochilovitz, chanted the prayers; he also served as a Shochen, a slaughterer of animals for kosher meat.
Five years later, in 1898, on the Howland Street site, ground was broken for the building of the Ahavath Achim Synagogue.Aaron Simiansky had the honor of presenting the first Rabbi of the synagogue, Rabbi J. Silverblatt, with the silver trowel. Ahavath Achim was completed and formally dedicated in 1899.Rabbi Hyman Papkin was the second Rabbi, and served Ahavath Achim from 1900 to his death in 1960.
Rabbi Aaron Harris Silverblatt, c. 1898
The building was completed in 1899 and was home to the congregation from 1899 to 1940. In the 1960s Howland Street fell victim to urban renewal. Most of Howland Street was removed for the development of Route 18, and at the site of the original synagogue now sits the Alfred J. Gomes Elementary School.
Howland Street looking toward Water Street
Corner of Howland and Second Street
The stained glass window at the top of the building is a copy of the original one moved from the Howland Street building. This copy was made by Alvin Glaser of the Morris Glaser Glass Company after 1991 hurricane destroyed the original.