Goshen’s Jewish Community
The Gutierrez Mexican bakery was home to the Louis Simon Clothiers beginning more than one hundred years ago. It was a staple of Goshen’s Jewish community that established itself in the mid-1800s with a small concentration of Jewish families, practicing their faith in their homes. Jewish-owned businesses in Goshen included L. Simon Clothiers, Aaron Cohen Clothier, and Bernstein’s Cigars, among others. Louis Simon’s was established as early as 1906. The location continued as a clothing store under the Simon name until 1976 and as other clothing retailers another 15 years. The building was listed in the Goshen Business Directory as vacant in 1991, and the Gutierrez Bakery opened in 1999.
By 1876, Goshen’s Jewish community purchased an old Baptist church and converted it into the Sharis Israel Synagogue. By 1879 the Jewish population had grown to 125 with children attending a newly established school. By 1907, the population had grown slightly to 139 people. The most prominent member of Goshen’s Jewish community was its leader, Rabbi Harris Weinstein. Born in Lithuania in 1859, Weinstein immigrated to the United States in 1880. After spending time in New York and Evansville, Indiana, he came to Goshen in 1880. He led the Sharis Israel synagogue through the peak and then decline of Goshen’s Jewish community. In 1927, the population of Jewish people had declined to 51. In 1932, the synagogue was abandoned. Despite that, Weinstein continued to serve the community officiating weddings, funerals, and other religious services. Rabbi Weinstein died in 1943 after serving the community of Goshen for over 50 years.