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A Brief History of Temple Beth Abraham

Organized Jewish life in Nashua had its beginning as far back as 1895, when fifteen families got together in an effort to "keep a Jewish way of life alive". These people had moved from Boston to Nashua, a busy mill town on the Merrimack River, to build a new life. They established the Agudas Achim Lodge, which was the beginning of Temple Beth Abraham as we know it today.

By the turn of the century, the population of Nashua had grown to a point where a building was needed in which the congregation could hold its services, meetings, and activities, and serve as a focal point of their Jewish religion. A building was purchased at the corner of Cross and Lock Streets, and the Beth Abraham Congregation was founded with twenty-five members.

A major turning point in the history of Beth Abraham Congregation took place when it was necessary to enlarge the synagogue building, because of expanding religious, social, and organizational activities. After the remodeling was completed, the seats were rearranged so that men and women would sit together. For the sake of community harmony, this was accepted, and religious issues were not allowed to divide the congregation.

The transition from first to second generation brought the congregation from the Orthodox to the Conservative movement. In 1947, Rabbi Hershel Matt, a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, was chosen as the spiritual leader, and with his guidance, the Congregation joined the Conservative United Synagogue of America.

In 1950, Rabbi Bela Fischer z''l became our spiritual leader, an association which lasted for over 31 years. In addition to improving the Religious School, and starting a Couples' Club, Rabbi Fischer z''l was instrumental in furthering the cause of Judaism in the Nashua area and representing the Jewish community in the wider community.

As the congregation grew, it became evident that a Community Center was needed in which to hold social and educational gatherings. Philip Porter spearheaded the initiative to build a Temple Center to satisfy the present as well as future,needs of the community. In 1956 the community enthusiastically pledged time and money to build our present home, which was completed in 1960.

The 1960s and 1970s brought remarkable growth to the congregation, which mirrored the phenomenal growth of the Nashua area. In 1964, Rabbi Fischer z''l was given a lifetime contract as a show of appreciation for his efforts. In 1975, a woman became a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday morning and was called to the Torah. In that time period, women were counted for a minyan (prayer quorum), honored with aliyot to the Torah, became members of the Board of Directors, and sometimes conducted the entire service.

In 1986, we completed construction of our Religious School and Youth Center. It was made possible by the generosity of the Philip Porter family who donated the land located across the street from the present synagogue. The multi-purpose design of the building houses five classrooms, a youth lounge, offices and a library. In addition, with moveable walls, functions holding up to 200 people can easily be accommodated within the building.

After a period in which the Jewish population boomed again through the 1990s, with new industries growing in Greater Nashua, our main building was renovated, enlarged, and rededicated in 2001. Community members contributed generously in time, money, and talent. Our building is fresh and modern, artistically and technologically, with a design rooted in the legacy of the synagogues of Europe.

In the past twenty years, Beth Abraham has continued to move toward our vision of a twenty-first century community, educational, and religious center for Jewish people and families all over the Greater Nashua region. People of all Jewish backgrounds participate and lead our community, and we consider everyone who is part of a Jewish family to be part of our community. We have partnerships in the local community for volunteer service and education, for programs inside and outside our building.

Check us out, join us, and help us write the next chapter in the story of Beth Abraham!

Timeline of Temple Beth Abraham

Late 1800s - Jewish families begin arriving in Nashua

1892 - First minyan is held at the home of Aaron Borofsky

1895 - Fifteen families establish the Agudas Achim Lodge

1895 - Land is purchased for the Cemetery

1899 - Agudas Achim Lodge becomes the Temple Beth Abraham Society

1900 - First synagogue at corner of Lock and Cross Streets in Nashua

1901 - Twenty-five men sign the Beth Abraham Charter

1927 - Synagogue is remodeled

1947 - Temple Beth Abraham joins United Synagogue of America

1953 - Building is purchased at 11 Beacon Street for Jewish Community Center

1959 - Land is donated at 4 Raymond Street (our current home) for building of new synagogue

1960 - Dedication of Temple Beth Abraham

1975 - Temple Beth Abraham becomes egalitarian

1986 - New Religious School building is dedicated on June 6

2001 - Current building is remodeled and enlarged

2019 - In the summer solar panels are installed as part of an ongoing "Go Green" initiative 

Fri, December 3 2021 29 Kislev 5782