The Early Years
At first, members met in private homes. Sub-
sequently they moved to a small building on Front
Street, and in 1902 or 1903 to 296 Market Street. A
shift of the Hartford Jewish community to the north-
west section of the city, made it imperative that the
congregation move, in 1928, to its Greenfield Street
The Greenfield Years
Payment for construction of the new synagogue on Greenfield Street was guaranteed by 12 directors:
Barney Wachtel, David Traub, William Vogel, Harry Greenspon, Louis Kaplan, Abraham Goldstein, Daniel Rudin, Harry Roth, Abraham Roth, Benjamin Wein- baum, Louis Greenspon, and Charles Greenspon, who signed a bond pledging their personal credit. On September 9, 1928, the new building was dedicated, with much jubilation, by members of the congregation led by Abraham Goldstein.
The depression years were difficult ones for the Congregation. It was only through the efforts of the President, Abraham Roth, and his dedicated admini- stration, that the synagogue was saved from fore- closure. Towards the end of the depression, in 1937, under the leadership of President I. G. Pessin, aided by Joseph Marcus and David Weinberg, the second, third and fourth mortgages on the Synagogue building were paid in full.
The Greenfield Street years were ones of growth and vibrancy for the Congregation, which gradually took on the role of leadership for the Orthodox Jewish Community of Hartford. The Agudas Achim Chevra Mishnayos, a society for the study of our holy law, was organized in 1928 by Rabbi Nathan Weinberg. The Agudas Achim Chevra Kadisha was organized in 1932. The first Gabboim were Harry Greenspon and Harry Roth. The Zion Hill Cemetery was purchased in 1903 and the Barbour Street Cemetery in 1937.
The Sunday morning breakfast minyan and the social club were started towards the end of the second world war, under the synagogue presidency of Louis Kaplan. During the 1940’s, the Rabbi’s residence on Ridgefield Street was purchased, the brotherhood was organized, and Cantor Lipot Pollack joined the Synagogue.
In the community, Agudas Achim provided leadership of the development of a Vaad Hakashruth. Also, in the early 1950’s, during the Presidency of Max Veroff, the Sisterhood was organized, and gradually developed into the most effective group in the Synagogue family.
In April of 1951, Florence Rome was appointed as secretary of the Synagogue office. Over the past 36 years, because of her concern, dedication and total commitment, Ms. Rome has developed this position into one of vital importance for all members of the congregation. She has served us all with great distinction.
On June 3, 1951, Mr. and Mrs. Barney Wachtel presented the Synagogue its first memorial tablet with space for 200 names. The Perpetual Endowment Fund was established in 1956 with 5 trustees: Reubin Kaminsky, Louis Kaplan, Julius Greenberg, Julius Weiner, and Nathan Spector. In June, 1953, Agudas Achim marked the Silver Anniversary of its Greenfield Street location with Governor John Lodge as guest speaker. This important event was celebrated with much festivity and fanfare.
Ground-breaking ceremonies for a new addition to the Synagogue were held on May 1, 1955 in the presence of Governor Abraham Ribicoff. Louis Kaplan was the Building Fund Drive Chairman with Julius Greenberg, Morris Juster and Michael Greenberg in charge of construction. The completion of the new wing, which contained a school and auditorium, was celebrated with an Open House and a Dedication banquet, in February, 1956.
After Rev. H. B. Segal resigned and retired to Israel, Rev. Ernest Rubenstein assumed the post as Shammes (sexton). Rev. Rubenstein has served and continues to serve the Synagogue family with loyalty and devotion since 1957.
Agudas Achim suffered a great loss in the passing of Rabbi Nathan Weinberg on June 4, 1961. Rabbi Weinberg occupied the post of ba’al koreh, baa: shaharit, and ba’al tokeah, in addition to being the instructor in the Chevra Mishnayos. He served under the leadership of four Rabbis, spanning more than three decades.
Agudas Achim reached another milestone in its n star, in November of 1962 – the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Synagogue. There was a week of celebration with Governor John N. Dempsey giving the key-note address.
West Hartford – A Move To The Present
The congregation received a gift of two lots Mr and Mrs Aaron Dubitzky with an option to an adjacent lot King Phillip Drive in West Hartford on March 16, 1965. The plan to construct a new synagogue on this parcel had to be abandoned due to problems with terrain, and an additional two acres were purchased on North Main Street, the site of the historic 1776 Butler House. Plans for the new Synagogue were drawn up under the guidance of Harold Veroff, after approval from the West Hartford Zoning Board was granted, in May, 1966. Ground breaking ceremonies were held on October 15, 1967, and construction began in November.
A very poignant service was held in the Greenfield Street building on Rosh Chodesh, Adar 5729 (February 19, 1969). It was to be the last held at Greenfield Street. Sanctification of the North Main Street Synagogue took place on May 4, 1969 with members and local dignitaries attending a special program. It was a very significant event marking the beginning of a new era for Agudas Achim. David L. Weinbaum was the Building Committee Chairman, Michael Greenberg was Co-Chairman, Harold Veroff was Building Coordinator, and Julius Graff was General Chairman of the Building Fund Campaign.
The Greenfield Street building was leased to the City of Hartford to be used as a Day Care Center and subsequently sold to the First Baptist Church of Hartford.
The 1970’s and 1980’s were years of re-organization, consolidation and acclimation to the new environment of West Hartford. Here the Jewish community was more scattered than it had been in Hartford. October, 1987, marks the congregation’s 100th anniversary and we celebrate it with gratitude to G-D, that he has kept us alive, sustained us, and given us the privilege to reach this great milestone.
Rabbi Isaac S. Hurewitz 1893-1935
Rabbi Irving Weinberg 1935-1939
Rabbi Phillip Greenstein 1939-1946
Rabbi Abraham N. AvRutick 1946-1982
Rabbi Joshua Berkowitz 1982-1988
Rabbi Eic Kaye 1988-1992
Rabbi Jonathan Rosenbaum 1992-1998
Rabbi Reuven Spolter 1998-2001
Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe 2001-2009
Rabbi Ari Weiss 2009-2013
Rabbi Chagie Rubin 2013-Present
Moshe Cornfield 1897-1898
Aaron Fish 1898-1900
M.S. Rufkess 1900-1904
Benjamin Sharfman 1904-1906
I Stoltz 1906-1907
Moshe Cornfeld 1907-1908
A Zaindrill 1908-?
Barney Wachtel 1912-1924
Joseph Marcus 1925-1926
Barney Wachtel 1926-1928
Abraham Roth 1928-32
William Vogel 1932-37
I.G. Pessin 1937-1942
Abraham Roth 1942-1944
Louis Kaplan 1944-46
Joseph Rosenthal 1946-48
Samuel L. Kaplan 1948-1950
Max Veroff 1950-1952
Nathan Spector 1952-1954
Jacob I. Roth 1954-56
Julius Greenberg 1956-58
Reubin Kaminsky 1958-60
Julius Weiner 1960-62
Murray Federman 1962-64
Harold Veroff 1964-1968
Norman Sigal 1968-1970
Sam Black 1970-1973
Joseph Soifer 1973-1975
Jerome Brener 1975-1979
Samuel Barth 1979-1981
Donald Hirshfeld 1981-1983
Albert Reichin 1983-1985
Leon Chameides 1985-1987
Jerry and Alan ?
Jerry and Len Holtz ?
Jerry and Steve 2003-2004
Esia and Jean 2004-2005
Avi and Gayle 2005-2006
Bob Birnbaum 2006-2007
Etan Markus 2007-2010
Gary Sigal 2010-Present