As the communities that grew from the original Alliance Colony expanded, building religious centers became paramount. The first synagogue in Alliance, Eben Ha ’Ezer (Emanu-el), was completed in 1888.
“The members of the community having first been mostly concerned with the all-important question of procuring a livelihood, and having partially solved that problem, turned with gratitude to their Creator, realizing the need for a suitable House of Worship to offer their prayers unto Him.” 1
Interior of Eben Ha 'Ezer, Synagogue, Alliance.
The Eben Ha ’Ezer Synagogue was dismantled in 1920. Within its cornerstone was a document written in Hebrew which partially read:
“Praise to the Lord! Who took us out of an iron land, from Russia from slavery to freedom. Praise to the Lord who gave peace to his people of Israel in the land of America as it says, ‘and Israel lived in peace under its wine stock and under its fig tree.’ ” 2
Hebrew inscription in the cournerstone of the Emanu-El Synagogue, completed in 1888.
In 1889, the Tifereth Israel Synagogue, usually referred to as the Alliance Synagogue, was built across from the Alliance Cemetery. In 1897, the Ahavas Achim Synagogue was constructed in Norma. The Brotmanville Synagogue was finished in 1902 and used until 1979. 3
The Brotmanville Synagogue
The Ahavas Achim Synagogue in Norma.
1. Moses Klein, Migdal Zophim. Philadelphia, 1889. Republished as Migdal Zophim & Farming in the Jewish Colonies of South Jersey (Galloway, NJ: South Jersey Culture and History Center, 2019), 49.
2. Tom Kinsella, Growing American: The Alliance Agricultural Colony in South Jersey-A History (Galloway, NJ: South Jersey Culture and History Center, 2021), 29.
3. Kinsella, Growing American, 68.
For additional information on the synagogues of southern New Jersey, see:
Meyers, Allen. Southern New Jersey Synagogues: A Social History: Highlighted by Stories of Jewish Life from the 1880s-1980s. Staples: Marlton, NJ, 1991.