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Anshei Israel Synagogue

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Anshei Israel Synagogue

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Basic Information

Location 142 Newent Rd, Lisbon, CT, United States
Country United States
City Lisbon
Address 142 Newent Rd

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 41.60501,-72.00081

Summary

Anshei Israel Synagogue is a historic synagogue located in Lisbon, Connecticut, United States. The Orthodox congregation was founded with 15 families and constructed the synagogue in 1936. It was built by George Allen & Sons. The interior is a single room that is lined with five benches before an altar which held the sacred ark. The congregation's membership dwindled throughout the 1940s and 1950s, limiting the services to holidays before finally closing in the early 1980s. Rules in the congregation were not as strictly enforced as in the Old World, as there was no curtain to separate the sexes and distant members were allowed to drive part of the way to its services. The Town of Lisbon took ownership of the property in the 1980s. The synagogue is currently maintained by the Lisbon Historical Society. The synagogue was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.


History and time period

The founding congregation of 15 families came from Poland and Russia and lived in the surrounding towns of Plainfield, Lisbon, Griswold, and Jewett City. Rothenberg became the first cantor of the Anshei Israel Synagogue and the service would continue to serve the Orthodox congregation for decades. The congregation's membership dwindled throughout the 1940s and 1950s, which limited services to holidays. The synagogue finally closed when it could no longer steadily gather a minyin, ten men, in 1987. The town of Lisbon acquired the synagogue in the 1980s from the synagogue's last six members. In 2004, the synagogue was open during "Walking Weekend" events.

Caroline Read-Burns, president of the Lisbon Historical Society and Jerome Zuckerbraun, a member of the synagogue, discussed the Orthodox congregation's rules and noted that some rules were not as strictly enforced as in the Old World. As an Orthodox congregation, members were to walk to the synagogue, but some distant members would drive and "walk the last mile or so." The synagogue did not use curtains to separate men and women, as was the norm for Orthodox services in Poland and Russia. The women's seating was at a table on the right side of the sanctuary, near the door. The structure is well-preserved, but not currently in use.

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