« Back to previous page

B'nai Jacob Synagogue

  • Water & Nissley Streets Middletown, PA 17057
  • (717) 319-3014

Located at the intersection of Nissley and Water Streets in Middletown, B’Nai Jacob Synagogue is the oldest building erected and continually used as a synagogue in Dauphin County. The brick building was erected in 1906 in fulfillment of Orthodox Jewish requirements of religious law. At the turn of the twentieth century, most Jews lived in urban centers, because Mosaic Law held that Jews could not walk more than three kilometers on the Sabbath and that a quorum of ten Jewish males aged 13 or older must be present in order to conduct religious services. Though the B’Nai Jacob Synagogue is not the oldest Jewish congregation in Dauphin County, its establishment represented an important shift. As Jewish families began to leave urban centers in search of more opportunities in rural areas more similar to their European homelands, it became necessary to attract others to the same community so houses of worship could be established. On the Pennsylvania Rail Road Main Line in close proximity to Harrisburg, Middletown was an ideal location for such families.