The Buffalo region has been home to a wide range of individuals associated with local Jewish communities and Jewish networks from the 1820s through to the contemporary period as immigrants, citizens, residents and locals.
Buffalo Jews have a rich history of forming both formal and informal institutions for religious, educational, political and social needs. From synagogues to organizations, and from coordinating agencies to groups and clubs, Jewish Buffalonians have seen a changing range of institutions supported by group endeavors and community philanthropy.
In living memory, the East Side and North Buffalo stand out as physically connected and interwoven religious and commercial centers of Jewish living. In contrast to these specific areas are the mini hubs identified with Jewish living and connected to a more dispersed idea of neighborhood. Separately, suburbia with its significant geographic spread, has redefined how a series of Jewish spaces come together with a mix of hubs, focal points and networks.
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Special exhibitions, through a focus on particular individuals and subjects, delves into the personal stories that have animated Jewish lives. Each digital exploration reflects on the interplay between place, identities and changing times and the way in which American, Jewish and Buffalo historical experiences are deeply interwoven.
Materials that document Jewish Buffalo in all its diversity are found in books, articles, archives and museums, many of which are available locally or online. This section highlights some of these sources and will be updated regularly.
In the run up to WWII and the Holocaust, thousands of Jews fled Nazi Germany, Austria and Czech Sudetenland. Sol Messinger was born in Berlin in 1932. On May 27, 1939, Sol Messinger, fled with his parents onboard the SS St. Louis. The ship tried to dock in Havana,...