DuBois is a city in Clearfield County. It was settled and developed over the first half of the 19th century. DuBois was incorporated as a borough in 1881 and as a city in 1914.
A local Jewish population emerged in DuBois in the 1890s, as part of a larger population boom in the area connected with the growth of the timber industry. Sons of Israel Congregation was chartered in November 1894, primarily by recent Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. The members listed on the charter were Levi Locks, Joseph Breman, Louis G. Deitz, Louis Holman, Israel Wayne, Abram Zisser, and Abram Bers.
Sons of Israel Congregation initially held services in private homes, followed by a series of rented or donated quarters throughout DuBous: a building on Long Avenue offered rent-free by a Mr. Loeb, a room above Weber’s Store, the local Odd Fellow’s building, Whithead Hall, the home of Abram Zisser, and the home of Joe Lovitz. The congregation purchased the former Church of the United Brethren on Morrison Street and West Weber Street in November 1911 and converted the building into a synagogue. Dr. J. Leonard Levy of Rodef Shalom Congregation officiated over the dedication ceremony in late 1912. The congregation undertook a major remodel of the synagogue building in 1927.
After paying off the mortgage on the synagogue in 1922, Sons of Israel began planning a Jewish Community Center addition onto the back of the synagogue. The addition was dedicated in 1927. It included a large room with a balcony, a kitchen, restrooms, and a basement. The congregation paid off the mortgage on the addition in February 1943.
Sons of Israel Congregation began as an Orthodox congregation but advertised for a Conservative rabbi in the mid-1950s and later affiliated with the Reform movement.
Sons of Israel Congregation established the small Hillside Cemetery in 1919. Morris Shakespeare later donated cemetery gates in memory of his mother Ida Shakespeare.
The Hebrew Aid Society was founded in 1908 to assist Jewish peddlers who became stranded in DuBois without funds. The membership of the society included men and women in the community. The work of the society evolved over the next decade, contributing to war relief programs during World War I. The society informally disbanded in 1924 with the creation of the Council of Jewish Women—DuBois Chapter.
The Council of Jewish Women—DuBois Chapter undertook communal work into the 1930s and was eventually succeeded in November 1935 by the Ladies Auxiliary of Sons of Israel. The auxiliary raised funds for the upkeep and maintenance of the synagogue building, as well as to pay down the mortgage. It also contributed to the wider community, maintaining a room at the Maple Avenue Hospital and donating to the local chapter of the Red Cross. It also regularly donated to the United Jewish Appeal.
The Free Loan Society of DuBois was founded in 1918. It existed for three years, largely to address individual financial needs during the influenza epidemic and World War I. Some of the work of the Hebrew Aid Society was later assumed by Hachnoses Orchim.
B’nai B’rith DuBois Lodge No. 1225 was installed on April 26, 1936. It later became part of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Council of District 3. The lodge was primarily concerned with improving relations between the Jewish community and its neighbors and with attending to the needs of local Jewish boys serving in the armed forces.
Sons of Israel Congregation maintained a Hebrew school and a religious school within the synagogue for many years. Under the leadership of Rabbi Nandor Martin, the Hebrew school met each afternoon for classes in Hebrew, Yiddish, and synagogue management. The religious school, also known as the Sunday school, was affiliated with the Southwestern District of Pennsylvania Jewish Religious School program.
DuBois also maintained an active Israel Bonds branch in the mid-20th century.
In addition to serving as a meeting place for Jewish families in DuBois, the Sons of Israel synagogue also served the small communities in nearby St. Marys and Brookville.
Families known to be associated with the Jewish community of DuBois include Abrams, Adelson, Begler, Blankfeld, Bloom, Brill, Cohen, Coverman, Dancyger, Dym, Engler, Evins, Feinberg, Fischel, Frishof, Gelfand, Gold, Goldberg, Goldstein, Gollis, Golub, Gonzalez, Gordon, Gottlieb, Greenberg, Gusky, Harris, Herer, Hutchinson, Isaacman, Isenberg, Jacobson, Jefkin, Kahn, Kaufman, Keizler, Klewans, Kofman, Kohn, Kozuck, Kranitz, Lepovetsky, Levenson, Levine, Levinson, Levitz, Levy, Mamolen, Marks, Miller, Myers, Peskin, Rosen, Rosenberg, Rubin, Seidenberg, Selman, Shakespeare, Shapiro, Sheffler, Shefler, Shonberg, Silver, Simmons, Simon, Singer, Skale, Sky, Smargonsky, Snyder, Sofner, Sommer, Spear, Steinberg, Suslow, Tamler, Thompson, Trachtenberg, Turkin, Victor, Vinn, Walters, Wayne, Witten, and Yaffe.
|Total population [DuBois]||1880||2,718||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||1890||6,149||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||1900||9,375||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||1910||12,623||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Jewish population [DuBois]||1919||186||American Jewish Yearbook, Vol. 21 [1919-1920]|
|Total population [DuBois]||1920||13,681||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Jewish population [DuBois]||1927||240||American Jewish Yearbook, Vol. 30 [1928-1929]|
|Total population [DuBois]||1930||11,595||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Jewish population [DuBois]||1937||200||American Jewish Yearbook, Vol. 42 [1940-1941]|
|Total population [DuBois]||1940||12,080||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||1950||11,497||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Jewish population [DuBois]||1951||240||American Jewish Yearbook, Vol. 52 |
|Total population [DuBois]||1960||10,667||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||1970||10,112||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||1980||9,290||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||1990||8,286||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||2000||8,123||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||2010||7,794||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|
|Total population [DuBois]||2020||7,510||U.S. Census via Wikipedia|