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History Of The Shul...
The Boston Synagogue
55 Martha Road
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617.523.0453
Fax: 617.723.2863

The Boston Synagogue, the only remaining Synagogue in downtown Boston, is heir to a strong and vibrant tradition of Jewish life in Boston's West End.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, this neighborhood teemed with Jewish life and supported the many institutions which enriched that life. There were at least fourteen Synagogues, settlement houses, health clinics and a wide variety of organizations working for the betterment of the entire Jewish community. Members of these organizations raised money for an old age home, hospitals and a home for homeless Jews.
Out of these grass roots organizations grew the sophisticated infrastructure of our Jewish community today.




Ladies Auxiliary North Russell Street Shul
Purim Play 1931






Salem Street Jewish North End 1891

The earliest of these many Synagogues was the Beth Jacob Synagogue founded in 1888. As the Jewish population of the West End grew with increasing immigration, many more shuls were founded.
The neighborhood, teeming with Jewish life, began to decline as Jews began to move to the suburbs. By 1941 the two remaining Shuls in the West End, Beth Jacob and the North Russell Street Shul, merged to serve the remaining Jews who lived in the West End. By the 1940's the West End was no longer a major center of Jewish life in Boston.

On April 25, 1958, the residents of the West End received official notices from the city of Boston that their entire neighborhood, including houses of worship, would be taken over by the city by eminent domain, as a first step of an "urban renewal" to make the area a better place to live. The remaining Jews, like all their neighbors, quickly packed up and left and hoped that the promises of the city to provide them better housing would materialize. However, the one remaining Synagogue was offered meagre compensation, not enough to build a new Shul.

Without the heroic insistence of Maurice Saval, a member of the Synagogue who fought for sufficient funds from the city to build a new building in Charles River Park, this congregation, dating from 1888, would not have survived. Without his continuing help and without the support of many others of the old West End community, there would be no Synagogue in downtown Boston today. We would not have been able to serve the new community of Jews who have moved into our area. We would not be here to lead the renewal of Jewish life in this most historic section of our city.

Due to their efforts, a new synagogue was erected at our current 55 Martha Road location in June 1970.