Sephardic Congregation Ahavath Achim: Seattle, Washington, 1909-1940

Congregation Ahavath Achim, 1909-1940


Congregation Ahavath Ahim was founded in 1909 by Sephardic immigrants to Seattle from Rhodes, Tekirdag, Marmara, and Istanbul.

They met for religious services at a house on Washington Street.

For High Holidays, they rented rooms at the Washington Hall building at 14th and East Fir Street.

Services were lay-lead by David Levy and Yacovachi Eshenazi.


Building a Synagogue – 1922

In 1920, Congregation Ahavath Achim purchased an empty lot on 17th Avenue and East Fir Street, not far from its Sephardic contemporaries at Congregation Ezra Bessaroth and Sephardic Bikur Cholim.

By 1922, their synagogue building was completed.

Congregation Ahavath Achim operated without an official rabbi, relying on members to lead services, etc. until 1925, when Rabbi Sabetai Israel was hired.

Rabbi Israel served the congregation until 1931 as rabbi, hazzan (cantor), mohel (ritual slaughterer), and  shochet (circumciser).

In 1929, due to its small membership, there were rumors of a merger with Sephardic Bikur Cholim.

In 1931, Congregation Ahavat Achim engaged Reverend Morris L. Scharhon as its spiritual leader.

Rev. Scharhon ran a private Hebrew school with his brother-in-law Rev. David Behar.

In addition to serving as Congregation Ahavat Achim’s rabbi, Scharhon became a shochet.

After the dissolution of the congregation, Rev. Scharhon became the hazzan at Sephardic Bikur Cholim.

He also opened a kosher butcher and grocery store on Jackson Street, which his sons operated.

In 1940, Congregation Ahavat Achim closed its doors.

Congregants joined Sephardic Bikur Cholim and Congregation Ezra Bessaroth.

In 1945, the synagogue building was rented by the Jordan Club as a meeting hall.

Three of theirTorah scrolls were removed and given to Congregation Ezra Bessaroth for safekeeping.

One scroll was donated to a small community of immigrants in Israel.


Ahavat Achim Men’s Club and Ladies Auxiliary — 1955

In 1955, a group of former Ahavat Achim members reconvened as a social club to maintain the cemetery plots and work for charitable causes.

They called themselves the Ahavat Achim Men’s ClubIn 1957, their wives founded the Ahavat Achim Ladies Auxiliary.

In 1960, the Ahavat Achim Men’s Club sold their property on 17th Avenue and Fir Street to a church group.

In 1996, the members of the men’s club held meetings at Sephardic Bikur Cholim, in the Fellowship Room.



  • Isaac Maimon, “History of the Ahavath Ahim Congregation, Club, Auxiliary and Center,” Western States Jewish History 29/1.

Samantha Silver is curator for this Ahavat Ahim exhibit.