A series of photographs, both contemporary and archival by Phyllis Gerber Jensen. Set to the traditional melody of "L'Cha Dodi" sung by Temple Shalom's Rabbi Hillel Katzir.
History of Beth Abraham Synagogue by Barbara Goodman Shapiro

Jewish community of Lewiston Auburn area.

Youths Hold Inter-City Program
Act from Play with John Isaacson and an unidentified woman
Art Show with Isaacsons
B'nai B'nith function with Norman and Izsenstatt
Cong Beth Jacob Congregational Photo

This section of the Documenting Maine Jewry project has information on the communities of Auburn, Greene, Lewiston, Lisbon, Lisbon Center, Lisbon Falls , Mechanic Falls , Poland.

The coordinator of this site is Phyllis Graber-Jensen of Bates College . She would welcome additional photographs, documents and oral histories sent to them at dmj@mindspring.com

Local Jewish Organizations

Bates College Lewiston -
Bates College Hillel 2 Andrews Rd Lewiston 207 786 8272 - npelonzi@bates.edu
Beth Abraham Cemetery Association (Auburn) 147 Old Danville Rd Auburn 207/783-1302 -
Edward Little High School Auburn -
Lewiston High School Lewiston -
Temple Shalom Synagogue-Center 74 Bradman Street Auburn 207/786-4201 - temple6359@aol.com
Temple Shalom Synagogue-Center Cemetery 147 Old Danville Rd Auburn 207/786-4201 -

Brief History of Lewiston-Auburn Jewry

Originally the Jewish community of Lewiston-Auburn was divided into two congregations, one in Lewiston and one in Auburn.

Now the twin cities are still served by those two congregations but they are both located in Auburn.

The Congregations of Beth Jacob, Lewiston, and Beth Abraham, Auburn, were established in the 1920�s as Lewiston-Auburn�s first formal places of Jewish worship. These two congregations were preceded by a more informal place of prayer and religious education called a Schul, a Yiddish word derived from the German word for school.

In addition to the two Synagogues, the community was served by the Jewish Community Center in Lewiston. In 1981, the Beth Jacob congregation merged with the Community Center to form a new institution that combines the role of its predecessors: The Temple Shalom Synagogue-Center.

Both Temple Shalom and Beth Abraham are conservative congregations that offer many services to this day.

It's Happening Here website , Jan 2010,

DATABASE RESOURCES : Information is available on

  • 4,618 individual Jews with strong ties to Lewiston Auburn area of which 793 records has the Old Country origin of first generation immigrants
  • 902 records of burial in Jewish cemeteries for which there are 949 headstone images
  • 279 organizations important to the Lewiston Auburn area Jewish community of which 77 are Jewish community institutions and 147 are businesses important to the Lewiston Auburn area Jewish community
  • 588 bibliographic citations and sources pertaining to Lewiston Auburn area of which 132 are photographs and 17 are oral histories

Recent additions to the Documenting Lewiston-Auburn Jewry database include

The Documenting Lewiston-Auburn Jewry (DLAJ) site is a part of the state-wide Documenting Maine Jewry (DMJ) project. Honoring the Jewish tradition of remembrance, the Documenting Maine Jewry project seeks to tell the story, not just of those individuals, but of the communities they shaped. DMJ's goal is to collect short histories of the many people and organizations that have contributed, over time, to the lives of Maine Jews. Currently the state-wide index has records on over 25,000 Jewish Mainers and 200 Maine Jewish organizations.

People    The questions unavoidably arise: Who is a Jew? And who is a Mainer? On the former, the project takes no position. On the latter, we have used a broad definition including not only those who were born, grew up, or lived here, but also those who are buried here.

Organizations    DLAJ is also building a community-based history around the 20 religious and secular institutions that were or are the lifeblood of the Lewiston-Auburn Jewish community � as well as the source of quite regular souris (headaches). The project is creating 'family trees' of those often-interconnected local institutions: some 180 Jewish service organizations, 94 Jewish religious bodies, 18 Chevra Kaddisha and cemeteries, 15 Jewish camps, and 240 businesses crucial to the economic survival of Maine Jews.

Places    The state-wide database has information on Maine Jews from over 90 cities and towns . Users can seek information in a particular town or city or can select a wider area to search on the state map index . Each option allows users to find organizations and people either in these key cities/towns or by county.

Oral Histories    The DLAJ project is also collecting oral histories.

Sources    The Documenting Maine Jewry methodology is basically a jigsaw approach. We take whatever community, municipal, and cemetery records we have and merge them into a common database. As a result, we face problems of duplication and incompleteness. To minimize those problems, we try to name-match only when we have at least two factual sources for a given name. Ultimately, we feel it is better to have duplicate records than inaccurate information linking two unrelated people with the same names; Jews do love to repeat certain family names. In the name of historic accuracy, we ask families to supplement/correct their information using the on-line edit function on their page, or by emailing correct information to dmj@mindspring.com.

For security reasons, complete access to the database is available only on request. A full index of all burials , however, is publicly available.

Volunteers    The Lewiston-Auburn Documenting Maine Jewry effort is largely a volunteer effort; we always welcome more help. Volunteers interested in photographing older Jewish headstones, collecting information on a particular town or organization, transferring data from print to electronic records, or upgrading software should email to dmj@mindspring.com.

Finances    Financial contributions supplement the volunteer effort by supporting data collection and outreach. DMJ is under the financial supervision of Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine(JCA), a 501(c)3 organization. Donations are welcome using the Tzedakah box below or by sending a gift (marked DMJ) to the JCA, 57 Ashmont St., Portland, Maine 04103. Major donors can select a range of contributions to honor their own Maine immigrant family or to inspire and inform the next generation of Maine Jews.

Heart and Soul    The core of the project is the addition of new information by Maine Jews, whether online through the website, by email, or by old-fashioned mail. We encourage all registered users to supplement or correct existing information on individuals using the edit function on each person's page. Historical documents, oral accounts, photographs of community activities, and print articles can be emailed to Phyllis at Bates College. To get a mailing address, please email describing the materials you would like to share.

Last Updated : 2 September 2010

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Last Updated : Oct 5, 2017