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First Jewish settlers in Honesdale

By ANN O'HARA
Posted 4/8/20

Temple Beth Israel was built in 1856 on the bank of the Lackawaxen River in Honesdale.  The land was donated in 1854 by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company for the congregation that had been …

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looking back

First Jewish settlers in Honesdale

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Temple Beth Israel was built in 1856 on the bank of the Lackawaxen River in Honesdale.  The land was donated in 1854 by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company for the congregation that had been established by 10 men in 1849: William Weiss, Louis Milhauser, Fiest G. Waller, Samuel Frankel, Joseph Silverstone, Jacob Lipschutz, John Goldsmith, Judah Levy and Joseph Levy. William Weiss was said to be the first Jewish settler in Honesdale and a leader in the community. The first meeting of the founders was held at Waller’s home, probably on Main Street above High Street.  They soon rented a large room and hired Rabbi Kuttner, who led the effort to build a temple.

During the process of financing and building, they were supported by Russell F. Lord of the canal company who offered the assistance of the company as well as his personal financial support.  In the late 1880s, a second synagogue was built for a congregation of Russian and Polish Jews, but the Sherith-Israel synagogue burned in 1893 and was never rebuilt. Congregation Beth Israel still thrives today.

From the files of the Wayne County Historical Society. The museum and research library are currently closed. 



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