Original incorporation document
Our History - Who Are We?
Lawrence's early Jewish immigrants arrived in the 1880s and founded synagogues such as Congregation Sons of Israel and Ansha Sfard on the former Concord St., and later Temple Emanuel on Tower Hill in 1920. In 1917, a small group of residents from the Croz de Spika ("Across the Spicket River") neighborhood started to organize a synagogue, and filed for incorporation on Jan. 21, 1919. Thus, Congregation Ansha Sholum, known as the "Little Shul Across the Spicket" (compared to the larger orthodox synagogues) was established. That year, the congregation also purchased the current location at 411 Hampshire Street, then a two-family home, and converted it for religious services. Many members worked in or had businesses near the Arlington Mill. As Lawrence's Jewish population moved to the surrounding suburbs in the Merrimack Valley, Congregation Ansha Sholum remained, and is now the only historic synagogue in the city of Lawrence.
In the 1920s, the synagogue hired Rabbi Abraham Appleberg, who served for almost 30 years. His wife Rebecca was very active in the synagogue. Since his departure, the congregation has been led by the members themselves.
Throught he 1920s, the synagogue grew rapidly, and there was need for more space. In 1930, the congregation started a major building program as a result of a legacy gift left to the synagogue by a prominent member. The building committee hired Joseph Morissette, a Lawrence architect, to develop plans for the expansion. Joseph Torrisi was responsible for the outstanding woodwork. The Ladies Auxiliary raised the funds to purchase the new beautifully crafted Torah Ark. The remodeled synagogue was rededicated in March 1931. In 1973, the Allan Ash Estate supported the latest renovation of the historic synagogue.
Major celebrations held include the Golden Anniversary (April 1969), the 75th Anniversary (November 13, 1994). Past and present leadership includes Frayda Koffman, Melvin Zaft, Abraham Zaft, Judge Maurice Schwartz, Robert Goldberg, Jack Hirschfield, Rose Cuscia and many others. Members also participated in Lawrence's Workmen's Circle Branch #902.
We welcome any information about the synagogue or its role in Lawrence history.