“The Six Million” memorial, in the background, welcomes visitors to York’s Jewish Community Center. (York Daily Record file)
York County’s Jewish history woven throughout our community’s story
Another in a series of posts on the religious scene in York County.
From the Colonial days to the present, York’s Jewish community has been an integral part of York County history.
To find out more, we asked longtime York Sunday News columnist Gordon Freireich to write a timeline of the Jewish community’s story.
Here is that brief timeline:
1756 – Merchant Elijah Etting married Shinah Solomon of Lancaster and moves to York. Their home and store are believed to have been in the second block of West Market Street. Shinah is noted as a welcoming hostess to visitors and is specifically mentioned in British Capt. Alexander Graydon’s travels to America.
1780 – Elijah Etting dies in 1778 and Shinah moves her family to Baltimore, then known as a center of Jewish identity and culture. One of her sons, Solomon Etting, would be responsible for writing the “Jewish Laws” in Maryland, which prohibit discrimination of public office holders based upon religion.
1820 – Bavarian Jews arrive in Hanover. The Hanover Hebrew Congregation, on 2nd Street, was established many years later, in 1941 and exists there today.
1847 – After an absence of almost 70 years, Jews from Germany begin arriving in York City. A number of the new arrivals were merchants and established stores in the community.
1877 – The Hebrew Reformed Congregation (later Temple Beth Israel) is formed.
1883 – An Orthodox Jewish congregation is formed, later to be renamed Ohev Sholom, in 1902. It becomes a Jewish Conservative congregation in 1953.
1900 – Adas Israel, another Orthodox Jewish congregation is formed.
1903 – Adas Israel builds a small synagogue on Pershing Avenue (then Water Street) not too far from Penn Common.
1904 – Ohev Sholom constructs a synagogue on the corner of Princess Street and Pershing Avenue, just a bit farther north of Adas Israel. (Both buildings were demolished in the 1960s to make room for an expanding William Penn Senior High School.)
1907 – Temple Beth Israel is dedicated in the second block of South Beaver Street.
1910 – Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association is formed. Later to be renamed the York Jewish Community Center (JCC). The first meeting location is in a room above the Edison Light Company at 27 W. Market St.
1925 – The York JCC opens a permanent home at 36 S. Queen St.
1942 – Rabbi Alexander D. Goode resigns pulpit at Temple Beth Israel to become a military chaplain. He and three other clergymen die in the sinking of the UST Dorchester by a Nazi submarine in February 1943 and are forever immortalized as “The Four Chaplains.” The Chapel of the Four Chaplains was instituted in their memory. In York, an annual breakfast is held to remember the four clergymen.
1952 – The JCC moves to the former YWCA at 120 E. Market St.
1962 – Temple Beth Israel moves from Beaver Street to Hollywood Drive. (Later Adas Israel would move in to the former TBI location. Still later, as its membership dwindles, it would merge with Ohev Sholom.)
1968 – Ohev Sholom Congregation moves to a new building on Eastern Boulevard.
1989 – The York Jewish Community Center opens a new building on Hollywood Drive next to Temple Beth Israel.
1989 – Jewish Family Services formed to provide support to York’s Jewish community.
2003 – Ohev Sholom sells its building on Eastern Boulevard. It will eventually hold services in the TBI building and at the York JCC.
2010 – The York JCC celebrates its 100th anniversary.
2018 – Doris and Bernard Gordon Center for Jewish Student Life is developed at York College and is home to the college’s Hillel organization.
Other posts in this series
Check out this series of Facebook posts on the religious scene in York County, past and present.