History

History

As early as 1896 individual Jews had settled in Leominster, but the securing of the first Torah scroll for the community in 1906 is considered the beginning of organized Jewish life in this area of North Central Massachusetts.

On October 17th, 1915 the Agudat Achim Society was founded, organizing and conducting services and classes in rented quarters. In 1923, Congregation Agudat Achim (CAA) was founded by twenty-eight families undertaking the responsibilities of engaging a full-time rabbi and building the first synagogue building on Pleasant Street.

By 1944, through hard work and devotion, the mortgage was paid and the synagogue continued to expand with the establishment of the religious school, Sisterhood, and Board of Directors. The community placed strong emphasis on the value and equality of all members and succeeded in sustaining itself while allowing each congregant to contribute according to his/her ability. At the same time, the congregation produced leaders and philanthropists who were influential in a variety of causes and organizations, both throughout the Jewish world and beyond the boundaries of the Jewish community.

By 1953, the congregation had grown to 120 families. After much debate and planning, and at the impetus of Joseph Foster, our current building opened after a week of festivities from May 24-31, 1959. The Torah scrolls and flags were carried through the town from the old building to the new as children sang and marched. In the following years, the community renewed its focus on education, innovation, and the greater participation of women and girls through group bat mitzvah ceremonies.

In 1995, the congregation welcomed the members of the Congregation Ohave Shalom in Gardner.

Today, CAA is a vibrant community of individuals and families dedicated to fostering rich and meaningful Jewish life in our region. The Hebrew School, named in honor of its founder, Joseph C. Foster, still serves the children of our community tuition free. We continue to explore ways to deepen our Jewish expression, our devotion to God, and our impact on the world around us. 

May we merit in the years ahead to go from strength to strength, to build upon the commitment and dedication of the members of this community, and nurture a Jewish home for the people of North Central MA.

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