In the autumn of 1905, Congregation Ahavath Sholom purchased the building on Howell and Scott Streets that would become the first synagogue on Providence’s East Side. The new synagogue was dedicated on the 24th of September with great ceremony, and with speeches by numerous dignitaries, including Rhode Island’s governor and the president of Brown University. The congregation retained Rabbi David Bacharach and Cantor Moses Pollock as its first spiritual leaders, and regular services began later that week with the onset of Rosh Hashanah. That building served our community for 44 years, until population shifts and demand for increased facilities led to the construction of a new building.
On April 10, 1949, farewell services were held at the old synagogue, and, in the traditional, solemn procession, four sacred Torah scrolls were carried fourteen blocks to the Congregation’s new house of worship at Rochambeau Avenue and Camp Street. In 1962, a new sanctuary was added to the synagogue structure which was given the name Temple Beth Sholom-Congregation Ahavath Sholom. The congregation’s 1978 merger with Congregation Sons of Zion, the oldest Orthodox congregation in Providence, contributed further to the strength of the congregation, and gave it a new name, Congregation Beth Sholom-Congregation Ahavath Sholom-Sons of Zion.
In 1989, the completion of a major renovation of the sanctuary and social hall provided our congregation with a structure suitable for entering the twenty-first century. This achievement was celebrated at the rededication ceremonies honoring Mr. Malcom C. Bromberg and Dr. Joseph Jay Fishbein, Z”L, Co-chairmen of “Project Renewal.”
In June of 2006 Congregation Beth Sholom welcomed the former congregation Shaare Zedek into its family. The merger keeps the memory and the mission alive for the shul formerly on Broad Street in South Providence. A merger celebration and Torah processional was held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary celebration of Beth Sholom.
In 2011 Beth Sholom welcomed Rabbi Barry Dolinger and his wife Naomi, who have reignited the spirit of the community. Congregation Beth Sholom has played an important part in the social and religious life of our community. We are grateful beneficiaries of the legacy of past congregational leaders, and our commitment to that heritage will never falter. As we look to our future, we are confident that we will continue to move from strength to strength.
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