Sephardic Congregation Etz Ahaim
During the early part of the 20th century, immigrants from Europe settled in the New Brunswick area and produced a vital Sephardic community. This community had its roots in Salonika, Greece, Turkey and the Balkans. These people are descendants of the Jews of Spain and Portugal, and their ancestors were victims of the Spanish Inquisition who survived many trials, wanderings and unbearable conditions for the sake of their faith. To preserve their heritage, these Sephardim joined into groups such as the Ahava Veahva (Love and Brotherhood), La Luz Mutual (The Mutual Light) and the Ermanada Sephardith (Sephardic Brotherhood). The Brotherhood's first president was Solomon Arouh (2); The "mother of the colony" was Ricoula Nahmias (2).
The first two of these organizations (Ahava Veahva and La Luz Mutual) merged and received a charter for a synagogue and formal congregation, to be named Es Ahaim -- Tree of life -- after the oldest Synagogue in Salonika (2). The Congregation was originally organized in September, 1916 (1) and incorporated on June 27, 1921 (1). However, the original congregation apparently dissolved, and In the late 1920s, 25 members of these organizations decided to band together to reorganize the Congregation. Thus, was born "Congregation Es Ahaim Sepharedith" (The Tree of Life), as the name was written in English. In documents written in Ladino, in Hebrew script, the name was would have been pronounced "Etz Hahaim Sefardith". The Congregation was founded on March 12, 1927 and incorporated on April 3, 1927. The purpose of the organization was to fulfill the spiritual and educational needs of the Sephardic community, and to promote its social welfare.
Today, we at Congregation Etz Ahaim take pride in being one of the warmest, friendliest and most welcoming congregations in the community. Our doors are always wide open to members of the local Raritan Valley community, as well as to people living outside our area.
Respecting the beautiful customs and traditions of our faith, Congregation Etz Ahaim is an Sephardic synagogue. Morning and evening services are held daily. Child care and a children's program are offered on Shabbat and Yom Tov. All of our Shabbat services are followed by a bountiful sit-down kiddush, providing members with an opportunity to socialize, greet new worshipers, and informally meet our rabbi, Rabbi Eliyahu Tal