Cedar Road Synagogue

The TETIEVER AHAVATH ACHIM ANSHE SFARD congregation (1909-59), incorporated in Sept. 1910, was founded out of the Tetiever Social & Benevolent Society. Around 1900 a small group of Russian Jews from Tetiev established the Tetiever Verein, later known as the Tetiever Social & Benevolent Society. In 1909 members joined with other Tetiever Jews to form the Tetiever Ahavath Achim Anshe Sfard Congregation, under the leadership of Louis Goldberg, Jacob Weinman, and Kolman Kasner, among others. The Benevolent Society became an affiliate of the congregation. Congregants met for religious services in members' homes until 1911, when a house was purchased at E. 40th near Woodland. In 1914 a synagogue was erected on the property and the congregation worshipped there until 1927, when a new synagogue was dedicated on Linn Dr. in Glenville.

Rabbi Mordecai Landa was the congregation's first full-time religious leader (1931-53). The congregation's several active affiliate groups included: the Tetiever Ladies Aid Society & Young Women's Relief Society, which assisted new immigrants from Tetiev; the Tetiever Ladies Auxiliary, a fundraising group; and the United Tetiever Service Organization, which kept in contact with those Tetievers in the armed forces during World War II.

Faced with the migration of Jews into the eastern suburbs, in 1954 the congregation purchased property on Warrensville Center Rd. and sold the Linn property. Services were held in a house on the site until a new building was completed in 1957. Two years later, the congregation merged with the KINSMAN JEWISH CENTER and Congregation N'vai Zedek to form the WARRENSVILLE CENTER SYNAGOGUE. Frank Tavens (Tavensky), president of the Tetiever Congregation (1940-59) and the son of Abraham Tavensky, one of its founders, helped effect the merger.

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Cleveland's Jewish history is written in large part by the experiences of the eight original synagogues that comprise our congregation. Each met the needs of diverse immigrant groups settled in different areas of this city.

The first to arrive, Hungarian Jews, settled around Perry and Orange and organized the Sherith Jacob Congregation in 1899. Ten years later, Jews from Tetiev, fleeing hardship and terror, emigrated and settled around Woodland and East 40th Street.

Russian Jews and a few Spanish Jewish families also got together on East 37th Street and Woodland to start the Ohel Jacob Congregation in 1915. It moved to Scovill Avenue in 1919 and out to Kinsman and East 140th Street in 1925.

After World War I, the Mt. Pleasant area appealed to many Jewish families. As early as 1916, a small group started a Minyan at the Axelrod home on 118th Street between Kinsman and Union Avenues. They attracted Lithuanian Jews and ardent early Zionists and together they erected the N'Vai Zedek Congregation in 1922.

As Jews settles in Upper Kinsman, synagogues followed. In 1919, the Levine family moved to East 149th and Kinsman, and a Minyan began at their home, which developed into the Ohel Yavne Congregation. In 1920, Polish and Austrian Jews started the Tifereth Israel in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. In 1923, the Sherith Israel Congregation developed to server the flourishing neighborhood around Kinsman and 118th Street.

In 1930, Jews in upper Kinsman began to erect a combined synagogue and community center on a tract of land at Kinsman Road and East 147th Street. Chartered as B'nai Jacob Kol Israel, it was known as the Kinsman Jewish Center.

The flight to the suburbs following World War II weakened Cleveland's older Jewish neighborhoods. By the early 1950's, the Tetiever Congregation, which had moved from Woodland to Linn Drive in 1926, determined to relocate further east. In 1957 the Tetiever Congregation constructed a synagogue on Warrensville Center Rd. In 1959 a merger of three synagogues took place. The Kinsman Jewish Center and the N'Vai Zedek congregations also realized that they must move on and Rabbi Jacob Muskin became the spiritual leader of Warrensville Center Synagogue.

In 1970, Sherith Israel and Sherith Jacob joined the three synagogues that had merged into Warrensville Center Synagogue. The total grew to eight in 1972 when Ohel Jacob, Ohel Yavne and Tifereth Israel, which had previously merged as Shaker-Lee in 1959, voted to become equal partners.

For many years, the combined congregation also had been home to a number of Holocaust survivors who brought their own traditions, adding flavor to the synagogue family.

In 1990, following the death of Rabbi Jacob Muskin who had served the Shul for 40 years, the synagogue adopted the name Kehillat Yaakov. The name was chosen in recognition of Rabbi Muskin's ability to unify all the component congregations who had individual but not one unifying Hebrew name. "Kehillat" means "Congregation" and "Yaakov" is Hebrew for "Jacob."

With the help of G-d and the cooperation we welcome all our members and friends to worship together at the newest home of Kehillat Yaakov - the Cedar Sinai Synagogue.