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Resources and Projects

Resources for Long Island Jewish history

The following books and links are recommended for learning about the Long Island Jewish community

Seeking Sanctuary: 125 Years of Synagogues on Long Island

by Brad Kolodny

Jewish Community of Long Island

by Rhoda Miller and the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island

Jewish Communities of the Five Towns and the Rockaways

by The Jewish Heritage Society of the Five Towns

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Historic marker erected in front of the first synagogue built on Long Island

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This building, located at 152 Main Street in Setauket, was the first synagogue built on Long Island.  It opened in 1896 for the congregation known as Agudas Achim, meaning association of brothers.  On September 5, 2021 JHSLI partnered with North Shore Jewish Center in Port Jefferson Station to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the synagogue's opening by unveiling a historic marker in front of the building.

History of the building

Jews in Setauket, many of whom worked at a rubber factory in town, were gathering for worship in the early 1890s and established a congregation known as Agudas Achim in 1893.  Land where the building sits was purchased by the congregation in 1896 and construction of the synagogue began soon after.  A ceremony for the grand opening was held that year on Sept. 2nd.  

article in the The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 3, 1896  

In 1904 a fire destroyed the rubber factory leaving many Jews without an income and were forced to find employment elsewhere.  By 1918 the synagogue was closed and sat dormant for three decades.  In 1948 a new synagogue, North Shore Jewish Center, was established in Setauket and the old synagogue was renovated and once again used for services beginning in 1950.  Due to growth in the post World War II era the congregation moved to a large and modern, newly constructed building in Port Jefferson Station in 1971.  Today the building is owned by Setauket United Methodist Church and is known as Shalom Hall.

Interior view of the building from the balcony that initially served as a seating area for women.