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'Little shul' -- big milestone - Small congregation of Ansha Sholum marks 100 years of worship

By Terry Date, Eagle Tribune

There was a time people had to arrive early to Ansha Sholum — nicknamed "the little shul" — to get a seat for services.

Those days are no more, but the small synagogue at 411 Hampshire St. endures as a living, breathing house of worship in its centennial year.

The shul, Lawrence's last, will celebrate its 100th anniversary Sunday with an open house from noon to 3 p.m.

The shul remains, thanks to people's persistence and reverence for those who came before them. Ansha Sholum is a vestige of the once-vibrant Jewish presence in the Immigrant City.

In the cozy, balcony-topped space, guests at the open house will outnumber congregants, several of whom are approaching the centennial mark themselves.

The celebration will include speakers, tours and refreshments downstairs in the social hall. On the main floor in the sanctuary, Rabbi Robert Goldstein of Temple Emanuel in Andover will speak.

Ansha Sholum's cantor, Barry Friedman, will chant a prayer of remembrance in Hebrew, to be translated into English.

Bill Porteous will briefly discuss his research on the Children of Abraham cemetery in Lawrence.

Invited guests include political and cultural leaders. The occasion's emcee will be congregation member Beryl Rosenthal, a museum educator.

The day will bring together current and former shul members, friends and history-minded folks to remember and laugh as they share stories.

On display upstairs in the balcony will be an exhibit created by shul members Jurg and Linda Siegenthaler and artist Kate Delaney.

The exhibit's 11 panels reflect on the shul and the Lawrence Jewish community, a decade at a time.


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