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Quincy’s three other closed synagogues

Quincy was once home to three other synagogues. What happened to them? And what happened to the items they once held?

Ellen Smith, director of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University, said there is a “long history of religious buildings changing hands” in the Greater Boston area.

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“More recently, when religious buildings are sold, some components are removed and recycled within that community,” she said. “It’s not a well-organized movement, but it’s an increasingly organized movement.”

Here’s a brief history of the other synagogues in Quincy:

Congregation Ahavath Achim, 141 School St.

This was Quincy’s first synagogue. Incorporated in 1899, the congregation originally met on the second floor of the Liberty Baking Co. on Water Street, and then dedicated a new synagogue at 141 School St. on Sept. 13, 1903. The synagogue on School Street was demolished in 1972. The original charter for Congregation Ahavath Achim was given to Temple Beth El, and it can still be found there, at the entrance to the lower chapel.

Congregation Beth Israel, 33 Grafton St.

A second synagogue was formed in the Quincy Point area around 1910, and the group first met in homes and then held services at an old coal company on Cyril Street.

Congregation Beth Israel was incorporated in May 1918, and construction of its new synagogue began that summer. The cornerstone was laid at 33 Grafton St. on July 4, 1918, and the building was dedicated on Sept. 1. It served European immigrants who worked in the shipyards, and at its peak, during the 1940s and ‘50s, had 200 families and a vibrant Hebrew school. Dwindling membership led to its closure around 2007.

On Nov. 26, 2008, the entire synagogue and its contents were donated to the Maimonides School in Brookline. The school sold the building at 33 Grafton St.; it is now home to All Saints Community Church, an 11-year-old church affiliated with the Anglican Church of Kenya.

Maimonides still safeguards a trove of documents, books, and ritual items from Congregation Beth Israel, and an historical exhibit about the shuttered Quincy synagogue is on display at the school’s campus in Brookline.

Congregation Adas Shalom, 435 Adams St.

Congregation Adas Shalom was organized in 1960 and later acquired a dilapidated building at 435 Adams St. that had previously been a Stearns-Knight auto dealership and a tonic-bottling plant. The congregation spent $126,000 transforming the facility into a synagogue, and services were first held there in September 1962. After Adas Shalom closed in 2001, the property was sold on Dec. 27, 2001, and developed into condominiums. Its stained-glass windows and a menorah were given to Temple Shalom in Milton.

Temple Shalom sold its synagogue at 180 Blue Hill Ave. last July, and it is now home to a Baptist church. Temple Shalom now holds services at First Congregational Church in Milton while it looks for a permanent home. The stained-glass panels from Congregation Adas Shalom are brought out and used at those services.

Emily Sweeney

SOURCES: Quincy Historical and Architectural Survey; Temple Beth El website; Temple Shalom website; Maimonides School

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