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Ahavath Achim Congregation (New Bedford, Mass.) records

Identifier: MC-037

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection consists of historical notes, deeds, member lists, synagogue and sisterhood bulletins and other publications, rabbi biographical and personal files, and photographs, but also includes flyers and newspaper clippings. The majority of files fall within the years 1954 and 2006.


  • 1898 - 2010
  • Majority of material found within 1898-(ongoing) , Bulk 1954-present

Conditions Governing Access

unrestricted, unless personal information is included.

Biographical / Historical

On May 12, 1892, members of the Jewish community in New Bedford purchased land on Howland Street that would be the site of the future Ahavath Achim Synagogue. The name Ahavath Achim translates from Hebrew as “Brotherly Love.” According to its charter, the site would be a place “to worship G-d; bury the dead and promote temperance and morality.” The original synagogue held its first service in 1898 under Rabbi Aaron Silverblatt. In 1900, Rabbi Tzvi Chaim Papkin arrived in New Bedford from Biyalostock, in Czarist Russia. Papkin served as rabbi of Ahavath Achim until his death in 1960. In 1952, he was given the title Rabbi Emeritus. Papkin’s tenure was interrupted twice in those 60 years to serve in other communities, once to Utica, New York and once to Burlington, Vermont. Papkin also served as rabbi of a second synagogue, Chesed Shel Ames, on Kenyon Street in the North End of New Bedford (See CJC/MC 25). The Ahavath Achim community began to develop many of the services important to Jewish tradition and faith. Education, both public and private, began to thrive in the community; services for the dietary needs of the Kosher Jewish population emerged; and the burial society, Chevrah Kadisha, was assembled to tend to the burial needs of the community. An interest-free loan system, known as the Hebrew Free Loan Society, was established to help local Jewish congregants start businesses. By the late 1930s, the Howland Street building was becoming too small for the growing Jewish community. Ahavath Achim purchased the former home of Cornelius Grinnell Jr., a New Bedford whaling ship captain, on County and Hawthorn streets to serve as the new home of the synagogue. The first service at the new site took place in September 1941. In the 1950s, a separate building was constructed to house the Ahavath Achim Academy, a Hebrew school. The school was renamed the Dr. Eliezer Nochimow Building in 1982, after the then-president of the synagogue. The Ahavath Achim Sisterhood was established November 1940, with the aim of giving financial assistance to the congregation. The Sisterhood began to publish the Ahavath Achim High Holiday Bulletin in 1952. The group organized rummage sales, cake sales, a flower fund, a gift shop and a candle lighting ceremony. In June 1970, the Sisterhood introduced the “Woman of the Year Award.” In 1992, Ahavath Achim celebrated its centennial celebration. Ahavath Achim is a member of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and is currently served by Rabbi Barry Hartman.


3 Linear Feet (6 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials


Processing Information

February 2006 by Judy Farrar. Finding aid written by Michael Pacheco ’06.

MC 36, Ahavath Achim Congregation (New Bedford, Mass.) records
In Progress
Michael Pacheco
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Repository

285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA