Thirty-four young Jewish men from Maine died in the service of their country in the two World Wars. This project, including a Maine Memory Network exhibit, is meant to say a little something about some of them. More than just names on a public memorial marker or grave stone, these men were getting started in adult life. They had newly acquired high school and college diplomas, they had friends, families and communities who loved and valued them, and felt the losses of their deaths.
Like other immigrant groups, Jews came to Maine to make a living and enjoy the natural and cultural environment. Their experiences have been shaped by their occupational choices, Jewish values and, until recently, experiences of anti-Semitism.
Chassidic Jews who came to Portland from Eastern Europe formed a congregation in the late 19th century and, in 1917, built a synagogue -- Anshe Sfard -- on Cumberland Avenue in Portland. By the early 1960s, the congregation was largely gone. The building was demolished in 1983.