top of page
the-hebrew-handwritten-torah-talmud-scroll-on-a-s-2022-11-12-11-23-33-utc.jpg

About Us

JOIN LAS

Welcome to Landfield Avenue Synagogue! We are delighted that you are considering becoming a part of our vibrant and diverse community. As an Orthodox congregation, we embrace a wide range of Jewish learning, backgrounds, and customs, fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for all our members. 

Join us in making Landfield Avenue Synagogue your spiritual home and experience the joys of being a part of our inclusive and thriving community. We look forward to welcoming you with open arms!

Complete the membership form below and email completed form to: Landfieldsynagogue@gmail.com

or mail to: PO BOX 410, Monticello, NY 12701

Our History

Old Monticello

If you'll look at the old map, you'll notice that Landfield Avenue, which was named after Mr. A.G. Landfield (who originally owned a lot of the property) used to be called Orchard Street. There was no High Street at that time, And Orchard Street went only as far as intersecting Landfield Avenue. In place of what is today the parking lot ( owned by Mr. Ingber) on the comer of Landfield Avenue and North Street was a dwelling tenanted by David Knapp and his family. Mr. Knapp was a wagon maker who had a business on Lower Broadway.

On the property of our Shul was a large (by olden standards) boarding house called the Orchard Grove House, a private boarding house owned by the town clerk, Charles E. Royce. This was also called the Landfield property.· As I mentioned, originally Orchard Avenue ended at this property. This was the last building northward, afterward were only vacant fields and pasture lots. Later on, Mr. Landfield and Charles Royce decided that it would be advisable to extend the street to connect with High Street.  A few years later (1909?) a fire destroyed the Orchard Grove House, and· the Jewish General Aid Society purchased the property to build our dear Synagogue. On the Northwest comer of Broadway and Landfield was a beautiful (brick construction) hotel known as the Palatine Hotel. This hotel was modern and had electric lighting. It was powered by an electric light plant at the rear of the hotel. Many people who swathe new beautiful lighting at work, asked to be able to receive the same lighting. The electric plant expanded rapidly. In 1909 a fire started at the electric plant. [t was a large .fire that burnt .down. a large portion of the block (between Broadway and North on the west side of Landfield Avenue. The fire also consumed a dwelling owned by Nathan Federgreen. Later on, Mr. Ralph Washington built in its place an auto sales and garage, large enough to hold 150 cars in the caddy corner of Landfield and North. 

On the property of the Sheriff's parking lot was the old ‘Monticello Academy" building and boarding house. This was spacious property owned and operated by Professor Snook. The academy was started in 1859 by a professor and seven teachers. The school had very strict rules. They also believed strongly in a fresh air drill before and after school twice a day, every day. They used to line up two abreast and walk down 3ank Street to ·Broadway (or Main Street as it used to be called) and turn left walking until the bottom of the Village hill to the property of Mr. Field. The professor led the group while Nearing a Prince Albert and a high silk hat, and the students had to walk as straight as a West Point cadet. Later on, the school closed and the property was purchased by the Mitchell sisters and turned into a summer boarding house. This property changed owners many times. The following property (immediately after the parking lot) was owned by Mrs. M. L. Bushnell and had a large residence. The Bushnells are connected with the early history of Monticello. Incidentally, at that time North Street continued until the next street (Park Street) directly behind the _courthouse. There was no prison yet. The Bushnell property ended on Park and the corner of Hamilton. Incidentally, at that time North Street continued until the next street (Park Street) directly behind the courthouse. There was no prison yet. The Bushnell property ended on Park at the corner of Hamilton. The hill from Landfield to Bushnell was called Academy Hill. The following houses were on the properties that now are parking lots: on the comer lot was the residence of David Knapp, next was David A. Nunbar, then Andrew Dunn, and then attorney John D. Lyons (currently the old Rabbi's house.) On the corner of North and Bank Street was a vacant lot bought by the county of Sullivan to erect a residence for the sheriff. 

The Early Days of Our Shule

The Jewish General Aid Association of Sullivan County was incorporated on March 10, 1909, at 4:30 PM. The original Board of Directors was Louis Levinson, Morris Leichtung, and Philip Goldstein. Frank Weiss, David Diamond, Isaac Friedman, Morris Cooper, Isaac Katz, Sainuel Lipschitz, Isaac Rakowitz and Isidor Fishbon. On May 21, 1909, George Vemooy sold the property of the Harris cemetery_ to Mr. Leichfung. It was notarized by George Cooke. The same day, Mr. Leichtung sold the property to Alexq11det Rosenthal for $300. It is interesting to note that the documents say that both Mr. Leichtung and Mr. Rosenthal were from N.Y.C., while the Certificate of Incorporation says that Mr-. Leichtung was from Monticello and does not mention Mr. Rosenthal. On the 9th day of October, Mr. Rosenthal sold this to the Jewish General Aid Society Cemetery Association. The property was originally lot No. One of the Haidenburgh Patent. On August 5th, 1914, the Jewish General Aid Association filed papers stating that it was, in fact, the owner. of this cemetery though the cemetery was owned by another independent organization, the Jewish General Aid Society Cemetery Association (incorporated July 1909).

 

This was done because their lawyers advised that the first organization could not legally own the cemetery, so they had to form a new organization. This was signed by the cemetery association: A. Sherman, President, Frank Weiss, E. Gerson, Samuel Levinson, Rev. Harris Barlowbetg, and P. Goldstein.  On the 10th of October; 1911, Ella Bowe, formerly Ella Royce, sold her property to Abraham Scherman (a well-known N.Y.C. businessman). This was notarized by George Cooke. On the 19th of October, 1911, Mr. Scherman sold this property to the Jewish General Aid Association. Rumor has it that the Royce family did not want to sell it to a synagogue. Mr. George Cooke got heavily involved in making sure that this sale went through. On Match 26, 1919 additional grounds were purchased to form spacious lawns around the synagogue. On November 6, 1929, the synagogue purchased the property on 18 Spring Street. This property was· known. as the Hebrew Sheltering Home of Monticello. Later on, it became the home of the sexton and the Mikvah. In 1933 the J.G.A.A. purchased another. cemetery on Old Thompsonville Road on June 5, 1968, the building on 16 North Street was purchased from the Pre$byterian Church for the Shammos and the new Mikvah, and the old building was demolished. On March 12, 1976, 15 North Street was purchased as the Rabbi's house from the village, which purchased it from the County Courthouse on July· 6, 1973.

On November 9, 1963, Congregation Chessed Shel Emes at Liberty Street consolidated with the Jewish General Aid Association. Its synagogue and cemetery were then transferred to our Shule. This agreement was signed by Melvin Bien, the president of J.G.A.A., and Jacob Ralbin, the President of Chessed Shel Emes and notarized by Seymour A. Kesten. Samuel Friedman was the secretary of the J.G.A.A. and Gerald Mr. Andrews was the secretary of C.S.E.
The original agreement was made on July 10, 1964. The agreement stated that new elections are held yearly on November 1, the Rabbi would be Nathan Goodman, the Shammos would be Joseph Winzeiberg and they would have 22 trustees (11 from each Shul) 

Until elections were held, Max Rhulen would be president, and the treasurers were Isador Bogner and Louis Kutcher. Vice President would be Mel Bien and Jacob Rolbin, secretaries would be Gerald Andrews and Sam Friedman, and trustees would be: Samuel Rubin, Hyman Shapot, Ralph Meyer, Morris Gibber, Sidney Horowitz, George Wechsler, Seymour Kesten, Benjamin Goldstein, Carl Arfa, Carl Goldstein, Joseph Wasser, Simon Keller, Isadore Gibber, Paul Garfinkel and Irving Sadownick.

The Jewish Catskills

During the turn of the century, many Jewish people ran away from the Russian programs to America. The Lower East Side was crowded and noisy, and many people longed for the open space of the Russian farms. A number of Jewish farming communities opened up in Sullivan and Lower Ulster Counties as well as in New Jersey. There were smaller settlements in Orange and Greene Counties. 


In those days there was a fair amount of anti-semitism. May hotels advertised, "No Hebrews Allowed." As a matter of fact, in 1877, Mr. Joseph Seligman, a Jewish banker was refused entry to the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga, NY because he was an "Israelite." Seligman made a public scandal out of this incident by writing an open letter to Judge Henry Hilton, the owner of the local papers. The judge replied, "I don't like this class (the Jews) as a general thing." There was much discussion back arid forth -much of it was negative. 

Therefore Jewish people could not manage in the Catskills unless they organized together; Many of these people who migrated to Sullivan County were recent immigrants. They could not get deliveries of their necessities or loans from the bank, from their local community, so they organized their own co-ops to help the local Jewish population. Sullivan County was a quite successful Jewish community, yet the farmland was not the best. The soil was poor, and the growing season was short, so the farmers struggled. The dairy cow business, as well as poultry and eggs, were somewhat successful. Consequently, when people started coming up for the summer, it was a welcome source of income for the farmers. 

Incidentally, at that time North Street continued until the next street (Park Street) directly behind the courthouse. There was no prison yet. The Bushnell property ended on Park Avenue corner of Hamilton. 

The hill from Landfield to Bushnell was called Academy Hill. The following houses were on the properties that now are parking lots: on the comer lot was the residence of David Knapp, next was David A. Nunbar, then Andrew Dunn, and then attorney John D. Lyons (was the Rabbi's house.) On the corner of North and Bank Street was a vacant lot bought by the county of Sullivan in order to erect a residence for the sheriff.

The resorts often started out with farmers renting out rooms. Later they opened kuchalains and then additional bungalows. Originally, the owners would supply fresh milk from their own cows and vegetables from their own gardens. After the Civil War, transportation by railroad grew in leaps and bounds. This facilitated bringing the milk to N.Y.C. from the farmers, as well as bringing vacationers up to the mountains. 

In 1892 Mr. John Gerson, a Jewish farmer from Vilna, opened the first Jewish farm. In 1899 he advertised his Rock Hill Jewish boardinghouse, which kept the Jewish faith and customs. Eventually business boomed into more than 600 hotels during the 50's, and 60's. In 1907, the Kutsher brothers bought a farm and eventually took in guests to help meet their expenses. In 1914, the Grossingers purchased their property. Bo.th of these, as well as Mr. Slutsky's Nevele and Mr. Levinson's Tamarack Lodge, became quite successful. During the '50s, the bungalow colonies started purchasing swimming pools. Eventually, the Catskills were called 'the Borscht Belt." During the past 20 years with the N.Y.C. religious Jewish community growing in size and financially, there has been a· dnµnatic rise in the religious and Chassiilic Jewish community's flight to the Catskills. Today, about 250,000 people leave the hot city. There are many upscale second-home developments. Much money has been invested in the Catskills.

Screenshot 2023-07-10 at 7.30.32 PM.png

Get In Touch

  • Facebook

We appreciate your interest in the Landfield Avenue Synagogue/Jewish General Aid Association. Your feedback, inquiries, and suggestions are important to us as we strive to serve our community better.

Our dedicated Shul is here to assist you with any questions or assistance you may need.

Please take a moment to fill out the contact form below, and we will respond to your message promptly.

We value your input and look forward to addressing your concerns.

bottom of page