Chesed Shel Emes

Chesed Shel Emes, 2nd synagogue of the city, North End

Chesed Shel Emes

An enclave of Jewish families in the North end grew large enough to warrant the establishment of a synagogue in this part of town. In 1898, the Congregation Chesed Shel Emes was incorporated with a membership of twenty-three.  Many felt it was too far to travel to the South End synagogue, Ahavath Achim, on Howland Street. Rabbi Papkin served this congregation in addition to his responsibilities as Rabbi of Ahavath Achim. Services were held daily for some time at the home of one of its members and holiday services were conducted in the Saxon chapel on Purchase Street, near Hazard Street and also in the Dawson Building on Purchase and Linden Streets.

Kenyon Street sign near the I 195 overpass 
Kenyon Street sign near the I 195 overpass

Contemporary photo of the corner of Cedar Grove and Kenyon Streets, near the location of Chesed Shel Emes 
Contemporary photo of the corner of Cedar Grove and Kenyon Streets, near the location of Chesed Shel Emes

This arrangement was fine for several years, and then in 1903, a site was purchased at 86 Kenyon Street for permanent house of worship to be erected. The building for the Chesed Shel Emes congregation was completed in 1904. Taking part in the laying of the cornerstone were four members of the original congregation instrumental in establishing the synagogue – Rachmiel and Simon Mechaber, Abram Mendelson, and Moshe Goldstein. Chesed Shel Emes in Hebrew literally means “true kindness.” Attorney Sheldon Friedland was the last president of this congregation. The building was demolished for the construction of Interstate Highway 195.

To find Kenyon Street, drive north on Rt. 18, turn right at Coggeshall Street, then turn right onto North Front Street or the next right, onto Belleville Avenue. The site of the synagogue was between North Front and Belleville. You will find the sign that says Kenyon Street, but the synagogue was demolished in the late 1950s as part of a Federal urban renewal project that resulted in the construction of Interstate highway 195.

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