Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh sold tickets for High Holy Day services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur due to high attendance. So many people gathered for these observances that many were seated far back in the synagogue’s social hall.
Founded in 1904, Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh is one of Portland’s oldest synagogues. In 1954 the congregation moved from its Newbury Street location to Noyes Street, and is known locally as the Noyes Street Shul.
You may be surprised to know that in addition to all the other materials we collect, we have sound recordings! Thirteen are catalogued so far – check our Minerva catalog under “Dewey Call Number” for “Sound recordings.” You’ll find great stuff from B-Z: “Bert and I” to the “Zimel Brothers.”
Who are the Zimel Brothers?? you may be asking. Sol and Paul Zimel were the sons of Cantor Samuel Zimelman of Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh, in Portland. One of our sound recordings by the Zimel/Zimelman family is titled: “From generation to generation: Cantor Samuel Zimelman, a family rejoices” and it includes the following sons of Cantor Zimelman: Mr. Milton Zimelman (New York, NY), Mr. Ralph Zimelman (Syracuse, NY), Rabbi Sidney Zimelman (Schenectady, NY), Cantor Sol Zimel (Queens, NY), and Cantor Paul Zimel (New York, NY).
Another recording by Sol and Paul Zimel is “The Zimel Brothers sing Chassidic melodies: modzitzer and other nigunim.” This must be a later recording as Samuel Zimelman’s name is now shorted to “Zimel,” like his sons.
In fact, you can see the progression from Zimelman to Zimel to Zim, in a recent addition to Maine Memory Network of a 2004 poster, which advertises a performance by Paul Zim, “The Jewish Music Man,” and his Simcha Klezar Band (contributed by Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh).
Since Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, begins at sundown on December 20, here’s an enlightening present for you: A substantial new online exhibit, created by a team including Professor David Freidenreich of Colby College, his students, and MHS staff, that explores the long, rich, and varied experience of Jews in Maine.
Jews have been an important part of Maine life since the Colonial era, and made major contributions to the culture and economy of communities from Portland to Calais. At the same time, Maine Jews have maintained, adapted, nurtured, and expressed their own religious and cultural traditions and identity.