Hopewell Township was created about 1812 from several existing townships in Beaver County. Aliquippa, Pa. and Woodlawn, Pa. started as stations on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railway along the Ohio River and grew dramatically after the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company built a mill nearby in 1905.
The first Jewish settler in Hopewell Township appears to be Adolph Itzkovitz, who arrived with his family from Hungary in 1904. In the decade after the Jones and Laughlin mill opened, Aliquippa and Woodlawn attracted other Jewish families, many also originally from Hungary. The group in Woodlawn organized an Orthodox congregation called Agudath Achim as early as 1909, according to a community history from 1959. Early members included M. Selkovitz, I. Thomashefsky, J. Recht, N. Nieman, M. Weinberger, A. Itzkovitz, S. Roth, H. Roth, M. Neiman, J. Rush, D. L. Klein, S. Rottenstein, B. Herskovitz, B. Neiman and M. Fineman. Agudath Achim obtained a charter in September 1919. The charter members were Samuel Rottenstein, Meyer Fineman, Nathan Neiman, Adolph Itzkovitz and Samuel Donner. The congregation purchased a double lot on Franklin Avenue with the intention of building a synagogue but sold the property in 1921 and instead purchased an existing one-story wood-frame Methodist church at 501 Church Street. Members extensively renovated the building over the following decade, adding a concrete foundation and a basement, plastering the interior wall and adding a brick façade over the wood framing.
A group of Jews in nearby Aliquippa organized a separate Orthodox congregation in 1910 called Beth Jacob. When the borough of Woodlawn was merged into the borough of Aliquippa, Agudath Achim became associated with the larger Aliquippa borough, and Beth Jacob became associated with a new municipality called West Aliquippa. Although the two congregations were distinct, their members joined together for communal organizations, such as the B’nai B’rith Lodge 1125 founded in 1929. The B’nai B’rith rented rooms in the second floor of a building on Franklin Avenue. The communities also jointly organized Boy Scout Troop 412.
The spiritual leaders of Agudath Achim include Rabbi Deaktor, Rabbi Eiseman, Rabbi Singer, Rabbi Samet, Rabbi Handler, Mr. Barnard Kaplan, Rabbi Hershon, Rabbi Simches, Rabbi Appelman, Rabbi Miller, Rabbi Weinstein, Rabbi Sanders and Rabbi Marvin Pritzker, who came in 1948 and stayed into at least the 1960s.
In the late 1950s, the Jewish community of Aliquippa took a different approach to its congregational structure. A group associated with Agudath Achim chartered the Aliquippa Jewish Center in March 1957 and elected a board the following month, including members of the Chamovitz, Eger and Moidel families. The new congregation considered merging with communities in nearby Ambridge, Coraopolis and Sewickley before deciding in 1958 instead to construct a new community center in Aliquippa. Upon the dedication of the building in September 1959, Agudath Achim and the wider Jewish community in the area chartered a new entity called the Aliquippa Jewish Community Center, which aligned with the Conservative movement. That year, Beth Jacob Congregation also merged into the new center. In 1970, Aliquippa Jewish Community Center merged with Beth Samuel Congregation in Ambridge to form the Beth Samuel Community Center.
The close relationship between the communities complicates population estimates. The American Jewish Yearbook lists a combined population of 300 for Aliquippa and Woodlawn in its 1918-1919 edition and a population of 115 for Aliquippa alone in its 1928-1929 edition. Regional historian Jacob Feldman, in his book The Jewish Experience in Western Pennsylvania, A History: 1755-1945, attributes the 115 population figure exclusively to Beth Jacob and associates approximately 300 additional people to Agudath Achim. The American Jewish Yearbook listed a population of 410 for Aliquippa and 75 for Hopewell Township in its 1940-1941 edition, 400 for both communities combined in its 1951 edition and 400 for Aliquippa in its 1984 edition, after the merger with Beth Samuel.