Bentleyville, Pa. was established in 1818 and incorporated as a borough in 1868, two years after the death of founder Sheshbazzar Bentley. The borough had less than three hundred residents over its first thirty years but grew dramatically between 1890 and 1920, in large part because of coal mining and coke making operations in the area. The total population peaked above 3,600 between 1920 and 1930.
Among the new arrivals were several Jewish individuals and families, including Albert Greenfield, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Kossis, Morris Levin and Elizabeth Amdursky Levin, Cecelia and Oscar Malakoff, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Seidle and Mr. and Mrs. S. S. Sigle. A group of Jewish woman formed the Hebrew Ladies Auxiliary Society of Bentleyville, Pa. in November 1916. By early 1918, the group had eleven members, Mrs. Morris Levin, president; Mrs. S. S. Sidle, vice president; Mrs. J. R. Malakoff, treasurer; Miss Cecelia Malakoff, secretary; Mrs. S. Malakoff, Mrs. S. Goldman, Mrs. Joseph Kossis, Mrs. J. Kopple, Mrs. J. Lipsitz, Mrs. B. Bender and Miss Anna Goldman, according to an article in the Jewish Criterion. The group evolved into a Mothers’ Club in 1921 in order to create a religious school under the auspices of the Southwestern District of Pennsylvania Jewish Religious Schools program. The school was the thirtieth created under the system and had approximately twenty students during its first year.
The American Jewish Yearbook listed a Jewish population of 68 for Bentleyville in both its 1919-1920 and its 1928-1929 editions. Even at its largest, the Jewish community of Bentleyville was too small to support a congregation and generally associated with Rodef Shalom Congregation in nearby Charleroi, Pa. By 1931, the Bentleyville religious school appears to have closed, and Jewish children in the borough attended classes in Charleroi.