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Tracing Jewish Roots Along the River Mystic


Click on the photo of the Mystic River communities above to visit our "Communities" page... then select any city or town for a look back to the Jewish life of those places!

Future Home of this Project:
Ohabei Shalom Chapel
in East Boston

East Boston was the port-of-entry for thousands of European Jewish immigrants during the early 20th century – and it is where they established the first Jewish cemetery in the Greater Boston area. In the following decades, they surged into the communities surrounding the Mystic River!

A few decades later, the numbers dwindled as the flow moved outward in all directions to suburban communities. But their roots were in these cities and towns. There lies stories of determination, endurance and success in America.

ChapelJCAM is preserving the history of Boston's early Jewish Immigrant communities that will soon be housed in East Boston's historic Ohabei Shalom Cemetery chapel. It will be dedicated to teaching the skills and inspiring the values of the Jewish pioneers. And, for now, this project lives right here – this Web site!

This unique experiential Web site aims to transport you back in time to where life along the Mystic River – the towns of East Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Revere, Medford, Malden, Somerville and Winthrop – was bursting with Jewish culture, music, and business. The JCAM Charitable Foundation brings to life the sights, sounds and stories of these early Jewish immigrant communities to educate, promote, and strengthen the ongoing work of transforming the Ohabei Shalom Chapel into the East Boston Immigration Center. (The Ohabei Shalom Chapel is located on the grounds of the first Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts, founded in 1844).

The mission of the East Boston Immigration Center is to preserve the history of Jewish life in these communities. While the chapel is undergoing restoration, this Web site will serve as the repository that chronicles the story of the early immigrant communities along the Mystic River and will also serve as a community space for the immigrant populations who currently reside in these communities to learn how valuable lessons of the past can shape their tomorrow.

We are actively collecting documents, photographs and oral histories related to these once vibrant Jewish communities. We encourage you to contribute – written, visual, and aural.  Our hope is that an exciting array of material and technologies will create an ongoing engagement of people, experiences, and ideas. Click here to learn more about how to contribute.

In the meantime, go to the “Communities” page and place your cursor over a city/town, then click to enter. Now, sit back, relax and experience Jewish life in the early days!