South End Jewish Community

South End Jewish Community – late 19th century

Many in the present Jewish community are descendents of those who came here from Eastern Europe starting around 1877, thirty years after New Bedford was incorporated as a city.This is the third chapter in New Bedford’s Jewish history. One of the earliest settlers at that time was Isaac Goodman, followed shortly thereafter by Simon Simiansky.A partnership was established between Simon Simiansky and Simon Davidson and when there was a sufficient number of Jews to form a minyan, services were held daily in the home of Simiansky on South Water Street.

Intersection of South Water and Howland Streets
Intersection of South Water and Howland Streets

Consequently, the South End, particularly the area of South Water Street (now Route 18) was the area where the Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe lived and owned businesses. Several of these businesses included Kroudvird’s Bakery at Grinnell and Howland Streets,  Zeman’s Delicatessen at 481 S. Water Street, several kosher meat markets, Pildis’ chicken place, Sokol’s shoe store, Miller’s Public Market at 876 S. Water St., Genensky  & Levine Clothing Stores, Kaplan Brothers Furniture Store at 1020 S. Water Street,  Philip Shwartz’s Universal Hat and Cap Manufacturing at 1077 S. Water Street, Danis Jewelry Company, and Lesco’s near the Orpheum Theatre which is still standing today. Just drive down Route 18 from downtown and imagine thriving Jewish merchants doing business. This area was very much alive on Saturday evenings. According to Louis R. Liss’ oral history interview in the UMD Archives, “ Water Street, was 100% Jewish  from one end to the other as far as the merchants were concerned, and they carried every variety of goods imaginable.”

Big 4 Clothing Company run by the Shapiro Brothers on South Water Street, c. 1912
Big 4 Clothing Company run by the Shapiro Brothers on South Water Street, c. 1912

Danis Jewelry Company
Danis Jewelry Company, South Water Street

Hyman Miller in his store in the public market at 876 South Water Street
Hyman Miller in his store in the public market at 876 South Water Street

A South End residential community today 
A South End residential community today

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