Click Here to View the Table of Contents of Boston Walks The Jewish Friendship Trail

Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Welcome to BostonWalks, explorations in ethics and ethnics, particularly focusing on Jewish culture, history, spirituality, and religion!


Do you know how many Americans die yearly in car crashes?...
...How many?


Integrating the urban, modern Jewish American city experience with its historical sites and themes in such locales as Boston, MA, Portland, ME, East Bay and Providence, RI, and the Upper West Side of Manhattan, NYC.

Question: What's a political mensch?

Answer #1
Answer #2

img FileneimgBest of BostonimgNYC UWSimgBrandeis imgLove Your NeighborimgWatertown, New Town, & Muddy RiverimgWalk Near WaterimgRefute HateimgWalk West/North EndsimgWe're OneimgPray HereimgMeditationimgClubsimgBrooklineimgSensual WalksimgMore LoveimgReportingimgJewish BooksimgTENimgSouth End imgWhat's a political mensch? imgMore "What's a political mensch?"

Let's make hospitals healthier!

Click here to consider how!

The Boston Walks

Host of BostonWalks' The Jewish Friendship Trail

Since 1993

West End House" circa 2004 - Begun by 35 Jewish boys in 1903!
Click here to connect with more of Boston's Best!

Celebrating 355 Years

of Jews in America

Have you clicked on these on-line selections from Michael Alan Ross' new,
The Ten Commandments Guidebook?

Now available!

The Jewish Friendship Trail Guidebook

6 Self-Guided Walking/Bicycling Jewish Boston History Tours

Covers Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge

Softcover 198 pages with maps & b/w photos

Print out this
Book Order Form
to order now!

Now available!

The Ten Commandments Guidebook

Ways to Self-Struggle with Classic Morals

In Song, Poetry, and Prose

Covers 10 Commandments Plus One Other!

Softcover 153 pages with practical suggestions pages!

Print out this
Book Order Form
to order now!

Boston Walks presents


Boston Walks'

"The Jewish Friendship Trail"

Walking (& Bicycling) Tours


Sites of Jewish Experience


Brookline, Massachusetts

An Introduction Featuring

  • Recollections of Coolidge Corner
    Brookline, Massachusetts - 1911 to Now
  • Sites of Jewish Experience Along Boston Walks' The Jewish Friendship Trail in Brookline

Copyright Michael Alan Ross, 1997-2009 All Rights Reserved.

Email: Boston Walks' The Jewish Friendship Trail

Telephone Boston Walks: 617-489-5020

Presented by

Boston Walks, Publishers

- Telephone #617-489-5020 -

Click here to view our newest title, The Ten Commandments Guidebook

Like Jack & Marions Restaurant, a onetime Coolidge Corner focalpoint, 20th century Brookline had flair...

The Jewish community in Brookline is over ninety years old. Starting around 1911, enough Jews moved into Brookline to begin the first minyan - prayer group. Initially, that worship service was held in private quarters. By the 1920s, two synagogues emerged - Temple Ohabei Shalom and Congregation Kehillath Israel.

These two temples would be the forerunners of a Jewish population in Brookline of close to 25,000 persons by the late 1950s. With brief variations, that number of Jews in Brookline has not changed greatly in the 2nd half of the 20th century.

To meet the needs of these Jews, all sorts of community and private resources evolved - ten synagogues including the original first two, numerous Hebrew schools, Jewish Sunday schools, several Talmud Torah, a Hebrew college, a Jewish community center (albeit across the line in Brighton's Cleveland Circle for many years), and a retail area that has waxed and waned on Harvard Street (with some overflow onto Beacon Street - particularly, in the Washington Square area) that, at times, has stood up to former competitors such as Salem Street - North End, Arlington Street - Chelsea, and Blue Hill Avenue - Dorchester.

The Harvard Street environs of the late 1950s through the 1970s is fondly remembered by some for the


  • Brookline's Edward Devotion School with principal Dr. Lytle, Miss. Ellis' English class, & Miss Funk's History class
  • Kehillath Israel Synagogue's Hebrew School Chelm story readings with Messrs. Spack, Ginzberg, Gomborow, Shindler, Pinkas, & Ms. Brun in the Auditorium
  • KI's High Holiday tent
  • Irving's Candy Store with Irving AND Ethel
  • Max's & Girsh's Sunnyside Foods
  • Mr. & Mrs. Feldman's Bakery
  • the original Mr. Rubin's Deli
  • Mr. Hecht's Drug Store
  • Nat Bluestein's Market
  • Anita Chu's
  • Mr. Druker's Aborn Lock
  • Bostoner Rebbe's matza making way up Beacon Street
  • Joining together the kids from KI and Young Israel to dance with the Torahs at the Bostoner Rebbe's on Simchat Torah
  • Southern House's & Chateau Garod's bar mitzvah & sweet sixteen receptions
  • Friends' bar mitzvahs at Ohabei Shalom with its professional choir
  • the NEW Pleasant Street library
  • the OLD Coolidge Corner Theatre most often featuring Doris Day, Rock Hudson & (yes) John Wayne
  • Ice skating at Devotion Playground
  • playing Baseball at Russell Playground
  • Bike riding to Amory Park
  • sitting on the huge wraparound porches of Centre Street's old Victorians
  • Babcock Street before the NEW fire station
  • Rabbi Saltzman's fiery sermons
  • Cantor Michal Hammerman's warm, smiling, powerful voice
  • KI's Oscar Landers Hall High Holiday services with Harry Kraft
  • the "very expensive" SS PIERCE store
  • PICK A CHICK's bagels
  • Jack & Marions' Chicken in a Basket

Harvard Street, since the 1970s, has seen many superficial changes. It continues, though, to be a strong focal point for Jewish life in the year 2006. It seems to engender constant reinvigoration with new retailers serving revitalized Jewish needs among others.

A Taste of the Sites of Jewish Experience Along BostonWalks' The Jewish Friendship Trail in Brookline

  • To understand where and when Jews arrived in Brookline, Massachusetts, it helps to know a little about the Jewish history of Boston, Massachusetts.

  • The Jews of Boston came in two noticeable waves - or should we say in one rivulet and one river.

  • The rivulet started in the 1840s and emanated from Central Europe. So-called German Jews from places such as Posin included Jewish families such as the William Filene family, founders of the Filene Department Stores. These Central European Jews did not arrive in Boston in large numbers but rather totalled about 3,000 arrivals between the 1840s and 1870s. Starting out in Boston as Orthodox Jews, during those three decades of the 1840s to 1870s, many of them turned to Reform Judaism. Two of the significant synagogues which these Central European Jews created included Boston's first synagogue, Ohabei Shalom, and Boston's second synagogue, Temple Israel. By the time Ohabei Shalom moved to Brookline in the 1920s, its congregation is moderately Reform with some Conservative tendencies.

  • Compared with the small rivulet of Central European Jews coming to Boston, the Eastern European Jews constituted a gushing river! This river of Eastern European Jews started coming into Boston in the 1870s. So-called Polish Jews from places such as Lithuania included a Jewish family surnamed Rabinovitz - later to shorten their name to Rabb and start the Stop and Shop supermarket chain. Relatively speaking, the Eastern European Jews came into Boston in large numbers. Between the 1870s and 1920s, approximately 100,000 Eastern European Jews arrived in Boston. While, like the Central European Jews initially landing with their Orthodoxy intact; unlike large numbers of Central European Jews transition to Reform practices, many of the Eastern European Jews gradually turned to Conservative Jewish practices. Among the early significant synagogues which the Eastern European Jews created were the North End's Baldwin Place shul (Beth Israel), the West End's North Russell Street shul (Beit HaMidrash HaGadol), and Roxbury's Blue Hill Avenue and Crawford Street shuls.

  • KI (Kehillath Israel), Brookline's first synagogue, stemmed from this Eastern European Jewry. Beginning around 1911, Eastern European Jews, still Orthodox, began moving into Coolidge Corner from Boston's North End. Most likely, they had davened (prayed), previously to coming into Brookline, at the Baldwin Place shul! By the 1910s, these first Brookline Jews had formed a regular minyan (prayer group) and high holiday services. Before locating a building, they would daven regularly in members' apartments and rented Whitney hall - upstairs in the well-known SS Pierce building - for the high holidays. In the mid-teens, they purchased their first building at the corner of Harvard and Thorndike Streets. Finally, in the early 1920s, they purchased the site on Harvard Street where KI would be built. In January, 1925, they opened Congregation Kehillath Israel's main sanctuary. The first rabbi employed by KI had been the rabbi at the Crawford Street shul. Known as an eloquent scholar, he was Rabbi Lewis M. Epstein, whom KI's auxiliary building, the auditorium, would be named after when it was built 23 years later! During that first year, 1925, KI adopted mixed seating and began evolving from Orthodoxy to Conservative Judaism. As a Conservative synagogue, with multiple prayer groups from egalitarian to traditional, KI continues on Harvard Street today.

  • A small group from KI, wishing to maintain their Orthodoxy, formed their own separate minyan (quorum needed for prayer) by 1926 and called themselves Congregation Sons of Israel. They were the seed for another Brookline synagogue today known as Young Israel. Young Israel of Brookline was more formally organized in the 1940s; and, by the 1950s, YI had its first congregational building on Fuller Street. By the 1960s, Young Israel had purchased and begun using a building on Green Street, its present site. When fire destroyed Young Israel's facilities in the early 1990s, the shul rebuilt completely, creating Brookline's newest facility for Jewish worship (1994).

  • Breakaway groups forming their own minyans is a tradition in itself in Boston's Jewish-American history. Another breakaway group which formed a Brookline Jewish synagogue broke away from Temple Israel, Boston's second synagogue, in the la te 1930s. This breakaway group formed Temple Sinai in 1939; and the Second Unitarian Society Church building at the corner of Charles Street and Sewall Avenue. Temple Sinai, a Reform synagogue, remains at the same location today.

  • Ohabei Shalom, Boston's first synagogue, decided to move to Brookline in the 1920s, after locating in three other previous sites in Boston's lower and upper South End. By the time Ohabei Shalom moved to Brookline, its congregation had been in existence for over seventy-five years! It already was (and is) a successful, moderate Reform house of worship. In Brookline, on Beacon Street between Kent and Marshall Streets, Ohabei Shalom built a magnificent two building complex. The first building was completed in 1926. It served as the school and original social hall. The main sanctuary was completed in 1928. Ohabei Shalom continues as a Reform synagogue at that location today.

Walking to sites of Jewish experience in Brookline is an opportunity to feel the similarities and differences which embody Jewish life today and then in this wonderful community. For BostonWalks, this educational/recreational learning-style is intellectually stimulating as well as physically invigorating. We're pleased to share the experience.
Join us by clicking here to purchase our self-guided, six Jewish Boston walk tours Guidebook, BostonWalks' The Jewish Friendship Trail Guidebook, 2nd Edition!

Quick Links to a few of our other websites on the web!

Email: Write to BostonWalks about your group's planned visit here!

Telephone BostonWalks: 617-489-5020

These are some of

BostonWalks and The Jewish Friendship Trail

Self-Guided Walking Tours

which you can discover when you purchase BostonWalks The Jewish friendship Trail Guidebook!

  • The Jewish Friendship Trail Walk - Boston West and North Ends' Jewish Sites. Including homes of Brandeis and Filene, Eastern European Jewry synagogues and Hebrew schools, immigrant settlement houses and surprising reminders of Jewish life, religious, historic, memorial, and commerce sites, in and around Beacon Hill, the Fleet Center, and the Old North Church.

  • The Jewish Friendship Trail Bicycle - Cambridge Jewish Sites. Including Central European sites in Inman and Central Squares, and sites of Jewish life in and around Harvard University.

Copyright with a smile from Michael Alan Ross, 1997-2009. All Rights Reserved.

From the Charles River, a red, white, and blue political agenda flows!

Now available!

The Jewish Friendship Trail Guidebook

6 Self-Guided Walking/Bicycling Jewish Boston History Tours

Covers Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge

Softcover 198 pages with maps & b/w photos

Print out this
Book Order Form
to order now!

Now available!

The Ten Commandments Guidebook

Ways to Self-Struggle with Classic Morals

In Song, Poetry, and Prose

Covers 10 Commandments Plus One Other!

Softcover 153 pages with practical suggestions pages!

Print out this
Book Order Form
to order now!

"West End House" circa 2004
Begun by 35 Jewish boys in 1903!
Click here to connect with more of
Boston's Best!

Yea, Team! The Boston Red Sox and The New England Patriots!

From the Charles River, Americans can swim in a red, white, & blue direction!

Copyright Michael Alan Ross, 1997-2009. All Rights Reserved.

Email: BostonWalks


Let's make hospitals healthier!

Click here to consider how!

Chazak Ve-ematz
be strong and resolute

(Moses words to Joshua in Deut. 31:7)

Boston Walks

The Jewish
Friendship Trail

Sing Sense to America

Are you ready to celebrate the '08 presidential election
by singing some salivatingly satirical and serious song lyrics?

If so, try these on your tongue:

How do you imagine the relationship between freedom and responsibility within a democracy?

Check out this poetic interpretation:

In Defense of Liberty and Democracy, Freedom and Responsibility

considering the parasha of the week, Yitro.

Isn't it time to Attract Middle Class Families Back into Our Cities?

Here's 10 Ways to bring middle-class families back into cities like NYC:

10 Ways to Bring Middle Class Families Back into New York City, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Atlanta, and other Cities

considering the best of the suburban paradigm for our large cities.

Are you curious about what are some of the ethical reasons for single-payer universal health care insurance?

10 Moral Reasons for One Payer Universal Health Care Insurance for America

in light of Hillel's If I'm only for myself, what am I?

When was the last time you really laughed?

We're featuring good Jewish jokes!
Check out this month's featured humor
by clicking here!

We know that there are other belly laughs our there.
Email us at with your contribution!

Isn't time to make unhealthy hospitals history?

Here's 10 ways to make our hospitals healthier!