Institutions  /  Agencies

Jews in Greater Buffalo have formed complex institutions that provide central services through agency structures, many of which evolved from all volunteer groups, to more complex staffed organizations. Agencies support community planning, philanthropy, recreational and cultural programs, commemorative, educational and social service needs. In some cases, groups, organizations and even other agencies have been absorbed into other agencies


American Jewish life is characterized by a remarkable level of organization. Institutions of Jewish life are both formal and informal and run the gamut of synagogues to family circles to cousin clubs with every type of organization in between. Daniel J. Elazar, a political scientist specializing in the organization of Jewish community, considered the range of opportunity for association. His listing included religious, cultural and educational bodies, community relations councils, community service groups, immigrant associations, Zionist, fraternal, political, professional and philanthropic organizations. Each of these could be arranged at a local, regional and national level. In America, it was possible to affiliate with a multitude of formal and informal groups during a lifetime, and often with more than one, simultaneously. Organizations had several options: to federate, or to work as a sole operator, depending on the size of a community organization.

This section traces the development of several large Jewish institutions that took on the roles of coordinating: the Jewish Community Centers for sports, wellness, culture and leisure programing, Jewish Family Services of WNY, specializing in social care, Weinberg Campus for older adults, the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies for long term asset management and the Buffalo Jewish Federation for community planning, annual campaigns and programming.


Buffalo Jewish Federation

Agencies  /  Buffalo Jewish FederationThe Buffalo Jewish Federation can trace its history back to 1903, when several fundraising and social service volunteer-led organizations came together in order to coordinate their work for the benefit of community members and...

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Agencies  /  Jewish Community CenterThe Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo was an outgrowth of a movement started in 1891 by the Sisterhood of Zion. From Zion House to the Jewish Community Building operating in the heart of Jewish community of east side...

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Jewish Family Service

Agencies  /  Jewish Family ServiceJewish Family Services of Western New York grew out of a number of different organizations but it traces its beginnings back to July 15, 1863 and the formation of the Hebrew Union Benevolent Society. In 1903, that organization merged...

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Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies

Agencies  /  Foundation for Jewish PhilanthropiesThe Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies traces its history back to a meeting of community leaders at Zion House in March 1911. At this time they created a nonprofit charitable organization to hold bequests and other...

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Weinberg Campus and Rosa Coplon

Agencies  /  Weinberg Campus and Rosa CoplonOpening in 1915 as the Daughters of Israel Jewish Old Folks Home to care for Yiddish speaking elderly men and women, it was renamed The Rosa Coplon Jewish Old Folks Home: Orthodox Jewish Home for the Aged in 1924. Expanding...

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