Sign In Forgot Password

Let the Centennial Celebrations Begin!

03/08/2022 04:05:17 PM


Anna Marcus

BHA sanctuary c. 1930 Image: Beacon Hebrew Alliance

After nearly five years of planning, negotiating the twists and turns of a deadly pandemic, and working with dozens of volunteers across two organizations we are finally ready to launch Beacon Hebrew Alliance’s centennial celebrations!

Beacon Historical Society (BHS) and BHA are proud to present “Celebrating 100 Years of Jewish Culture in Beacon” an exhibition and walking tour opening April 2nd that will survey Jewish history, culture and community in Beacon and the Hudson Valley. 

Samuel Beskin was a founding member of BHA. He emigrated from Russia as a penniless teenager and after much hard work became a successful entrepreneur and Beacon's second mayor. c.1919 Image: Rick Rosenthal
Louis Sayette, a founding member of BHA, advertised farm land for sale on Mt. Beacon in the Yiddish press on July 1, 1919. Image: Fraye Arbayter Shtime

The exhibition will be open to the public for the entire month of April at BHS’s new headquarters on 61 Leonard Street. Simultaneously a new free virtual walking tour app will be launched, allowing users to learn about former Jewish businesses on Main Street from their mobile phones. There will be a free opening reception on Thursday, April 7th from 4-6pm at BHS, followed by a fundraiser Centennial Gala Celebration for BHA at the Roundhouse Event space from 6-9pm. Tickets for the gala can be purchased up until March 27th at No reservations are required to attend the exhibition opening at BHS. Go to for more info and COVID protocols.

The exhibition, co-curated by Sara Pasti and Donna Mikkelsen and directed by BHS President Diane Lapis, will present a broad historical survey of Jewish contributions to Beacon and the greater Hudson Valley including:

  • Jewish immigration to the U.S. and the Hudson Valley
  • Notable early Jewish residents in Beacon, early Jewish industry and business, and Jewish visitors at Camp Nitgedaiget and other local camps around Beacon
  • The founding of Beacon Hebrew Alliance in 1921, building the synagogue and establishment of the cemetery
  • A look at Jewish leadership, religious life, religious education, and the changing role of women in the Beacon Jewish community over the past century
  • Commemorating Jewish Veterans from Beacon who served during WWII
  • Present day activities of the Jewish community and interfaith collaborations

The exhibition will feature stories, photos, and artifacts drawn from oral history interviews done with living members in the Jewish community as well as research on past leaders in the community no longer present. A Yiddish translator was engaged to help in the research of articles and advertisements about Beacon that appeared in late 19th and early 20th Century Yiddish publications. The Jewish Beacon History Walk app, designed by Banu Akman and written by Anna Marcus, pulls from BHS’s archives and oral histories to tell the story of Jewish enterprise and the evolution of Beacon’s Main Street. Longtime BHA member Frank Ritter contributed photography to both the exhibition and walking tour app.

As Beacon and the Mid-Hudson Valley emerge from the pandemic and enter a new phase of development, this exhibition and its related programs seeks to embrace the rich cultural heritage of Beacon’s past as seen through the lens of the Jewish Community, offering up many valuable lessons that will inspire people of all faiths and cultures today.


This project is made possible, in part, by the Irving and Gloria Schlossberg Family Fund and the Sadie Jane Effron Cahn Beacon Hebrew Alliance Endowment of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley.

Founding members of BHA and Beacon business leaders Sarah and Jacob Ritter, c. 1940 Image: Frank Ritter,


Mon, July 15 2024 9 Tammuz 5784