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Religious foundations in Cumberland page 5

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


With the coming of the railroad in the 1840's the village was soon on its way to becoming a city. It was then that most of the other denominations began to take root including the first Jewish Synagogue.

The Centennial booklet of B'ER CHAYIM Hebrew Congregation, Samuel Umen, Rabbi, records how the first society of Jews was organized in Cumberland for religious purposes. B'er Chayim celebrated its Centennial in May, 1953.

The first mention of a Jew in Cumberland was in 1839 when Henry Clay is purported to have purchased a cravat from a Moses Goldsmith. There is every likelihood that Jews had arrived in Cumberland even earlier.

"Two of the thirteen children of the Sonnenborn family had settled in Cumberland by the early 1840's. They sent for their brothers and sisters until all but two had reached America. Among them was Joseph Sonnenborn who in turn brought over his nephew Reuben Lichtenstein. The Adlers established a store in Cumberland in 1848 and sent for two nephews, Simon and Susman Rosenbaum, who later took over the business which today bears their name. Until at least 1853 no records were kept, and those which might have been made at that time and later were not preserved. In


Felix G. Robinson

A group of citizens had assembled for the purpose of seeing a miracle performed. They are seen on the bank of the Potomac River at Riverside Park. The building with the large smokestack is the Cumberland Water and Light Plant. It was a rainy day, judging from the umbrellas. The attraction—A strange man had advertised in the press that he would walk across the water from shore to shore at that place. The stranger was never seen. Perhaps some prank had been played by one of their own number. This occurred in 1895. From Herman J. Miller Collection of historical pictures.

This photograph is included in the City of Cumberland's collection of the photographs of Herman and Stacia Miller. On their website the caption reads "Crowd at Potomac River near Cumberland. Ridgeley Bridge during county celebration - c. 1889"


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Maryland, History


Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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