At one time, Kerhonkson was a bustling town with many businesses and large Jewish community.  There were several other synagogues  besides Tifereth  Yehudah  V'Yisrael .

 

 

This building was Hebrew Congregation of Granite .  It is now a private home on Granite Rd.   Its  yahrzeit/memorial boards can be found at the Kerhonkson Synagogue.

 

 

This was a synagogue run by Rabbi Rabinowitz,  it is now a private home on Lower Granite Rd.  If anyone remembers its' name please let us know.

The original A&M Hardware store on Route 209 was also a synagogue.  It was lost to fire.  I do not know its' name.

Jewish Community in Kerhonkson

Beginning in the early 1900's, Kerhonkson  had several  Jewish farms.    They produced milk and vegetables. These farmers were part of a larger effort to resettle Jewish immigrants from the slums of the cities to farms across the Western Hemisphere. 

Farmers settled here with the help of the Jewish Agricultural Society , Hebrew Aid Society and funds from the Baron de Hirsch Philanthropies. Most of these settlers were recent immigrants ; Many didn't speak English or know how to farm.  All were discriminated against by local lenders and insurers.   The JAS offered education and loans and helped farmers organize to form cooperatives, creameries and build synagogues.  Baron de Hirsch believed in  a back to the land movement for Jews and the Catskills became the destination  of a great migration. 

This area, referred to as "The Lower Catskills," was beginning to develop Jewish organizations.  By 1906, there were eleven Hebrew Farmer Associations, the chapter in Kerhonkson/Accord having 57 members.  One source reports that in 1908 there were 500 Jewish subsistance farms in Sullivan and Ulster​ counties combined.  So many came that by 1919, the Jewish Agricultural Society set up an office in Ellenville.

 

The JAS helped build communities that were close to a major city but had the Jewish necessities even closer.   This included having Hebrew instruction for the children, a shul and in some cases other facilities like mikvahs.   Since these groups were small they often shared a teacher or a shul, but by 1930 there were 5 with ties to the JAS in the town of Wawarsing with Tifereth Yehudah  v' Yisroel having begun with the first minyon in 1910.  They give the date of the building completion at 1928 

 

When the train arrived in the Rondout  Valley, farmers were able to send their milk to the city by rail. For the first time, milk could be a reliable cash crop.  In time Kerhonkson had both a passenger station and a freight station.  Most of the farms could not support their families and the railroad made it possible for city residents to have easy access to the mountains so they began taking in summer boarders.  The Jewish resorts which would make the Catskills a famous vacation destination began in this humble way. 

Other organizations arose to take care of the burgeoning Jewish community.  There was a separate creamery to hold milk for the Jewish farmers before being transported by rail.  Regionally, there were several highly successful co-operatives, owned and operated by their members. The largest was the Intercounty Co-operative Association. Co-op membership was a natural fit for many of these immigrants fresh from the garment factories. They understood the value of organizing and union membership.  In the immigrant Jewish community were many Mutual Aid Societies, Workmen's Circle Associations, "Socialist" style camps, schools and bungalow colonies. 

Most of the small Jewish farms  would have their farm and buildings insured at the Associated Co-operative Insurance Companies  created because local agents would not insure Jewish businesses.  These were located in Woodridge, a town with a Jewish majority by this time.

After World War II,  the price of milk dropped and many of the farmers switched to egg and poultry production.  Chicken coops from this era dot the countryside of the Lower Catskills.

Sometime after the train ceased operation in the 50's, the Kerhonkson station was torn down but the Napanoch Station can still be visited and looks just like it,