WATERBURY — This year, the Waterbury Jewish community turns 10. That’s by one count… Jews started migrating to the Brass City in the mid-19th century, when manufacturing jobs were plentiful. But 150 years later, the last remaining Reform and Conservative synagogues had been sold to churches, and only one Orthodox congregation, B’nai Shalom Synagogue, was left.
More accurately, this month, the new Waterbury Orthodox Jewish community celebrates its 10th anniversary. It may be the only instance of a planned Jewish community in the U.S.
“We developed an Orthodox community where there was no existing community,” says Rabbi Yehuda Brecher, who, along with his wife, Yocheved, was one of the community’s nine original families. “The concept of enhancing communities exists in numerous towns and cities across the U.S. The residents might want a little extra, so they bring in a yeshiva or a kollel or more young families. But to move to a community where you could count the number of Orthodox Jews on one hand – that’s unique.”
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