Jewish citizenry in Cumberland can be documented back to 1816. By 1853 twelve Jewish families had taken residence in this growing city of 6150 people. It was this small group which applied to the Maryland General Assembly for an Act incorporating the B’er Chayim (Well of Life) Congregation on May 23, 1853. Steps were taken in 1865 to acquire a site for the temple and by 1866 the temple’s construction was completed at the corner of South Center and Union Streets at a cost of $ 7,427.02. The synagogue was dedicated onMarch 2, 1867. Weekly dues of 25 cents, offerings, and help from other communities paid the construction cost. B’er Chayim was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It is the oldest continuously operating synagogue building in the State of Maryland, the sixth oldest Reform Congregation in America and the tenth oldest synagogue in country.
B’er Chayim Congregation, Historic Preservation Commission City of Cumberland,