Congregation Beth El Jacob

This particular site was home to the Polish community of Jews in the mid-1800s.

The development of the Jewish community Albany also mirrored the building of communities in upstate New York such as Troy.The congregation at Beth El Jacob was an offshoot of the original Beth El Synagogue that had been established in the 1830s by German-speaking Jews. After a split within the community, the congregants of Beth El Jacob practiced in individual homes and went on to make their home at 28 Fulton Street in the late 1840s("Albany"). Prominent members of the non-Jewish community were even noted as taking place in the official dedication of the Synagogue in April of 1848, including the Mayor,William Parmalee(Strum). Unlike the congregation led by Isaac Wise at Anshe Emeth, Beth El-Jacob was Orthodox in practice.
Unlike reform Judaism which was gaining popularity amongst Jewish communities all over pre-Civil War America, Orthodox Jews were eager to keep the traditions and rituals that had been familiar to them for centuries. Orthodox Jews follow closely canonical law including certain dietary restrictions and and the separation of men and women during services. Eastern Europe was a stronghold of Orthodoxy and many Hasidic communities sprung up in this region.
Holding its services in the Polin, or Polish tradition, it had three religious leaders, Simon Cohen,Simon Newburg, and Samuel Minster("Jews in Albany"). The fact that this particular Synagogue was Polish speaking indicates that Jews from Germany were not the only immigrants who made up the small community in Albany. Eastern European Jews were in the area much earlier than the late nineteenth century, when there was a larger influx of Jewish Migrants from places like Russia and Poland.

Strum, Harvey. "Jews in Albany".Jewish History and Community in Albany, NY" ,Opalka Gallery, Sage College,Albany, NY:February 3-March 2,2003.

Cite this Page:

Alicia Sansone, “Congregation Beth El Jacob,” Albany Walks for Health, accessed December 13, 2018, http://www.albanywalksforhealth.com/items/show/32.

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