Our History

A Brief History of Temple Beth Joseph of Herkimer, New York

   In October, 2012 we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the founding of Temple Beth Joseph. We can, however, trace our roots in Herkimer back even further to the year 1915 when the few Jewish families in Herkimer formed the Hebrew Aid Society to promote social & religious activities for the community’s Jews. By 1927, we owned Torah scrolls & had purchased burial grounds from the Oak Hill Cemetery. All we lacked was a building to call home.

   The 1930s saw an increase in the Jewish population of the Herkimer area & soon it was decided to disband the Society and form a Temple. This house of prayer was to be named after of the late Joseph Basloe of blessed memory. The organization of this new synagogue took place in late 1937 & the Temple’s charter was filed after the beginning of the new year.

   Services & meetings were held 1st in the homes of our members but eventually we acquired room in an office building on Main Street. Planning for a permanent home began in 1947 &, by September of 1949, our Temple building was dedicated at the corner of Prospect Street & Church Street. Herkimer’s only synagogue has remained at this site ever since.

   In 1957 the Ida Castle School Wing was added to serve the educational needs of  our community & soon after, the Rose Basloe Library was added. Today our Temple facilities are complete. They have served us well for many years and will continue to do so. The tasks to which our synagogue is dedicated: prayer, education, camaraderie, & devotion to God remain. And, as a congregation, we are proud of the role we have played, & will continue to play, in the unfolding of Jewish life here in the beautiful Mohawk River Valley.