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As Newly-arrived Jews from Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia) established synagogues, commonly referred to as “shuls” (rhymes with “schools”), that protected the religious practices of the Old World. Those rituals and practices often varied by city or regions so many small neighborhood shuls were established to provide as continuity for the immigrant community.
Subsequent generations, working to assimilate as well as retain some the traditions and rituals found the Reform movement in Judaism attractive. The establishment, mergers and transitions of the various shuls mirrored the migration of the Jewish community from the Haymarket area, the central core of Cleveland to one of two emerging neighborhoods circa 1920 Glenville or Mount Pleasant, and then to the eastern suburbs of Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and South Euclid circa 1950.
This document traces the movement, growth and demise of those shuls by analyzing the real estate archives, and traces the land purchases and sales to the various congregations. This analysis is one of several inputs used by urban study professionals in the study of “Place”, a phrase that was popularized in part by MIT Professor Kevin Lynch in his 1960 book The Image of the City.
Forward John B. Hexter
Once again Jeff Morris explores the history of a community, this time centering on not one geographic area as he did with Beechwood: the Book, instead on the movement of the major elements of Jewish communal life. His natural curiosity, combined with a dogged determination that characterizes just about everything he tackles, has driven Jeffrey to do primary research worthy of a Ph.D. thesis in tracking down the migration of the Jewish congregations and synagogues in Cleveland, Ohio from the middle of the Nineteenth Century on. Know in the world of Urban Studies as a “Study of Place,” Haymarket to the Heights details the origins of every orthodox congregation formed in the early days of Cleveland that for the most part no longer exist.
The desire for accuracy drove him to search in numerous public depositories researching hand-written real estate transactions, some in musty bound books and some on aging microfilm, often with critical misspellings and factual errors. Tracking the official incorporations, dissolutions, mergers and splits of shuls whose origins derived from old-world customs and rituals has required patience and persistence.
Here finally, is a fully-documented and accurate picture of the migration of the local Jewish community from the central core (Haymarket) area, now a freeway interchange, east to Mount Pleasant and Glenville and then to the Heights. I was privileged to accompany Jeffrey on several excursions to inner-city churches that were once Jewish houses of worship and to interview the religious leaders occupying still-sacred space.
About The Sources Used: The most important factor consideration in compiling this document was the use of Primary Sources. Primary Sources include legal documents such as, records filed with the State of Ohio, the Cuyahoga County Recorder, or minutes of an incorporated organization.
About the Spelling and Dates of Mergers and or Consolidations The spelling of a congregation is based on the spelling at the time of their filling with the Secretary of the State of Ohio. Mergers publicly announced, however not considered a merger until accepted by the Secretary of the State of Ohio.
Introduction to the Haymarket to the Heights
This publication started out as an historical account of the movement and consolidations of synagogues ting from Cleveland’s Glenville and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods of prior to the 1950’s. As I compiled the data using primary sources, the project expanded to include the historical account of each of the prior locations, as far back as their incorporation, some as far back as the mid to late1800’s.
The good news, beyond finding most of the answers, was the opportunity to meet and work with many wonderful people. Before I mention those folks, allow me to thank long-time friend John B. Hexter for his words of wisdom and support. Mitch Wasserman, Maxine Margolis and David Payne added their technical assistance and willingness to review draft upon draft of the document. The assistance of Bill Barrow, the rock of Cleveland State University’s Special Collections and his assistant Lynn Duchez Bycko were also invaluable to the completion of my work. A special thank you is due Mitchell Balk, Karen Leizman Moses, Allan Pearl, Richard Schanfarber, Ivan A. Soclof and both the Madorsky and Sperber families for their input.
The collection of data transitioned from a task to a journey allowing me the opportunity to meet people in both the public and private sectors including Dr. Judith G. Cetina at the Cuyahoga County Archives; and Tom Edwards in the map department and Margaret Baughman in the photo collection at the Cleveland Public Library. All of these folks not only provided needed direction, they also offered a deep interest in the project and support in uncovering additional supportive information.
My work with Martin Hauserman Chief City Archivist and Veronica Pierce Deputy City Archivist for the Cleveland City Council was one of several invaluable unintended collaborations that took place as I searched for information. Our friendship and mutual interest while working on this and other tasks will be cherished for years to come. In addition, the assistance provided by city planner Don Petit in the Cleveland Landmark Commission are examples of good people in government that are dedicated to their work.
While making inquiries at many of the former synagogues, I had the opportunity to meet several gracious leaders in the city’s church community. These include: Mr. James Wright a resident of Glenville since 1947; Pastor Garry Washington at the Apostolic Faith Tabernacle; Pastor Edward McGhee at the True Vine Baptist Church and Pastor Julia Allen at the Integrated Faith Assembly.
My special thanks to Cleveland’s Jewish history experts Nate Arnold and Arnold Berger for their assistance, along with Dr. Richard Klein for his input on my quest to refine my work as a Study of Place as it relates to Urban Studies.
With the gracious support of all these people came an abundance of copies, downloads and flash drives, which resulted in our home being taken over with files, copies of copies, plat maps and numerous directories. Therefore, I thank Gloria and Matthew for putting up with losing the dining room table, the basement and, at times, the kitchen table.
Published in 2016 by Jeffrey Morris Cleveland, Ohio