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University at Buffalo Libraries

Jewish Buffalo Archives Project

Jewish Buffalo Archives Project's Collections

What we collect

Temple Beth El basketball team 1921-1922The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project (JBAP) is actively collecting the historical material of the Jewish communities of Greater Buffalo. Our goal is to save and preserve these materials so future generations will be able to learn and grow from the legacy left by previous generations.

We collect:
  • Family papers
  • Diaries, memoirs, scrapbooks
  • Photographs
  • Business and organizational records
  • Oral histories

Currently JBAP is preserving the records of the oldest synagogue in Western New York, Temple Beth El (founded in 1847). This collection includes adminsitration records, photographs, scrapbooks, charters, and more. Some of the items date back to the synagogue's earliest days!

We also are actively collecting the papers of and recording oral histories of many members from the Buffalo and Western New York Jewish community.

Once the project has reached its conclusion, the University Archives at the University at Buffalo will be the permanent repository for the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project. There the collections will be made open and available to the general public for future research and study.

See the gallery page for some images from the most recent donated collections


Building on an established legacy

During the 1980s, Dr. Selig Adler, a history professor from the University at Buffalo and active member of the Jewish community of Greater Buffalo, compiled documentary materials to create the Jewish Archives of Greater Buffalo collection.

These papers document the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, local Jewish communities, prominent local Jews, synagogues, and Selig Adler's research and studies about Zionism, Jewish history, U.S. foreign policy, education, and civil rights. The collection also includes the papers of Rabbi Isaac Klein, who first came to Buffalo in 1953 to become rabbi at Temple Emanuel (later Temple Beth Zedek).

The Jewish Archives of Greater Buffalo collections are currently open and available to the public at the University Archives at the University at Buffalo.


Examples of some of the noteworthy treasures collected so far...

  • Minutes of the oldest synagogue in Western New York, Temple Beth El (founded in 1847) date back to the synagogue's earliest years.
  • Hauser Bob Photographic collection that records over 30 years of Jewish life in Buffalo from the 1910s to the 1940s.
  • Oral histories and papers from prominent community leaders, activists, educators, artists and others.
  • Jewish women's social, educational, and aid organizations including the National Council of Jewish Women.
  • Records of the Soviet Jewry Movement and the work of activists within the Buffalo Jewish community for the aid of Refuseniks -- Jews refused exit from the former Soviet Union.
  • Materials relating to the Jewish Community Center (JCC), the Jewish Federation, the Bureau of Jewish Education, as well as other Jewish community agencies, institutions, groups, and initiatives.

See the gallery page for some images from the most recent donated collections