Our History

The Ahavath Torah Congregation was founded in 1919 with only 25 members as three Stoughton Jewish groups combined their resources and membership in order to form a more vibrant Jewish community: the Hebrew Benevolent Society, the Russian and Lithuanian Jewish landsmanschaften. These three groups worshiped separately in various homes around Stoughton. The merger allowed for the purchase and dedication of the first synagogue in Stoughton, located on Porter Street, on October 14, 1919. Signers of the original deed were Charles Kartstein, Louis Caplan, Harry Weiss, all becoming synagogue trustees.

Ahavath Torah Congregation was incorporated on
September 5, 1930. Signers of the necessary documents were Harry Landman, Benjamin Goldberg, Philip Bass, Saul W. Nasher, Maurice Goldman, Louis Caplan and Harry Kartstein.

The town's general population and Jewish community grew over the next two decades. In 1954, Ahavath Torah Congregation organized and opened its Religious School. It was readily apparent that the congregation had outgrown the Porter Street facility. In the spirit of brotherhood, three religious faiths worked together to resolve their respective plans for new building space. Due to the indefatigable efforts of Sumner Tapper, Ahavath Torah Congregation purchased the Congregational Church located at 30 Pearl Street as its new Temple building. The former facility on Porter Street was sold to the Knights of Columbus and the Congregational Church built a new facility on Pierce Street.

The growth of Stoughton's Jewish population, and the activities associated with the synagogue, necessitated consideration of building a new facility. With a membership of 72 families, land was purchased in three stages due to ownership by three different people. Plans were drafted to erect a new facility at 1179 Central Street, the present location. The Central Street edifice was dedicated in June 1970.

Further growth in the Religious School, Sisterhood, Brotherhood and youth groups led to an expansion of the existing structure. The newly renovated and expanded synagogue was dedicated in 1987, with much help from the Lipsky Foundation whose connections to Ahavath Torah Congregation reach back to our founding. It is gratifying to see so much activity to this day.

Over the decades, Ahavath Torah Congregation has been fortunate to have had many prominent religious leaders. The following Rabbis have served our congregation: Rabbi Henry Gerson (for whom our Religious School is named), Rabbi David Oler, Rabbi Harold Schechter, Rabbi Steven Conn, and Rabbi Jonathan Hausman. Rabbi Hausman has carried the Ahavath Torah Congregation name across greater Boston and the country by way of his involvement in many regional and national Jewish organizations.

The officers, Board of Directors, Sisterhood, Brotherhood and youth groups throughout the decades have sought to inspire and strengthen Jewish life and religious values in the Stoughton community. Ahavath Torah Congregation, as a united and cohesive force for young and old, gives credence to the inextinguishable spirit of our faith.

The Congregation always endeavors to actively participate in all vital issues facing the Jewish and general community. It is toward those objectives that Ahavath Torah Congregation strives with sacrificial dedication and loyalty.

Sam Stein,

Past President and ATC Historian