Bangor was established in the mid-19th century. Located on the Penobscot River, Bangor was one of Maine’s wealthiest towns during these years, and drew a large immigrant population due in great part to the booming lumber industry. In 1849, a small group of German Jews lived in Bangor, establishing a kosher butcher shop and purchasing a piece of land suitable for a burial ground. By 1850. they had organized the first synagogue in Maine.

BangorJewish Census


1860 - 2000

First Congregation in Maine

Ahawas Achim

Rented Rooms, True Block, Bangor

1849-1856, 1874-1901

“What was the interior of the synagogue like?  To this there are a number of references in the minutes. Originally there were nine benches with a total of thirty-six seats. These seats were raffled off and men’s and women’s stands were distributed to the members by lot. The remaining stands were available to Jewish non-members at $1.00 per seat.  Two years later four more benches were required and their purchase was authorized – thus providing seating for fifty-two persons… In addition to the number of seats, we know that there was a stove, and a new curtain for the Ark was purchased in 1855.  Beyond this we have no description of the synagogue, its location or its appointments in the minutes.”

~ William  J. Leffler II, from A Study of Congregation Ahawas Achim, 1957

Ahawas Achim

Congregational Timeline

July, 1849

The first meeting of thirteen German Jews was held. The group voted to purchase a piece of land suitable for a burial ground.

The location of the synagogue was never permanent, with meetings being held in homes of founding members.


Minutes recommence following a new wave of Jewish immigration.

December, 1849

This same committee drew up a Constitution and By-Laws for the congregation “suitable to the members and in accord with the Laws of the State of Maine.” Ahawas Achim, Brotherly Love, the first organized synagogue in Maine, officially recognized by the city of Bangor in 1850.


Minutes for Ahawas Achim end, coinciding with closing of many of the Jewish businesses in Bangor and many of the families moving away. The congregation was dissolved and all property of the Congregation was held in trust.

By 1881

had established Webster Street Cemetery for its members.

Mr. Samuel Heinemann was hired as a Hazan Schochet.


The property was reclaimed, and new community members continued the activities of the congregation with the influx of new families.


All activity of the synagogue ends.

Ahawas Achim

Clergy Leadership Over the Years:

Samuel H. Heinemann

“Mr. Heinemann was the only paid religious functionary of the congregation. He enjoyed the offices of clergyman, teacher, ritual slaughterer, circumciser, cantor, choir director, and general servant of the congregation.. . .In his original agreement with the congregation, it was Heinemann’s duty to ‘slaughter ritually, porge (cut out certain sinews) and circumcise.’ He also was to slaughter poultry free of charge for every member. Whether he received compensation for his former skills is not mentioned. However the shochet was not authorized to slaughter meat for members who were in arrears.”

 ~ William  J. Leffler II, from A Study of Congregation AhawasAchim, 1957

Tifereth Israel Synagogue

Circa 1920-?

Tifereth Israel Synagogue

Congregational Timeline

Circa 1905

Had established cemetery for its members.


Synagogue mentioned in American Jewish Yearbook as being located at 145 York Street, the current location of Congregation Beth Abraham.

Congregation Shaare Toldos Yitzchok Anshe Sfard

37 Essex Street, Bangor

1920 – 1955?


Congregation Shaare Toldos Yitzhok
Anshe Sfard

37 Essex Street, Bangor

Congregational Timeline


Toldos Yitzchok founded by a small group that purchased a home on the corner of Essex and York Streets.


Circa 1925 had established cemetery for its members.