The East Side holds a particular affection for many Jewish Buffalonians. This was the immigrant neighborhood, and from where many contemporary Buffalo families can trace their roots. The neighborhood grew from the 1880s and reached its height in the early 1920s, lasting through the 1950s. Some of the Jewish institutions we have today can trace their beginnings to the East Side including the Jewish Community Centers and the Hebrew Benevolent Loan Association. The East Side was both a religious and commercial center that had eight synagogues, The Talmud Torah and hundreds of Jewish businesses from dry goods stores to grocers to shochtim (kosher butchers) to kosher delis. The East Side nurtured the talents of people like Harold Arlen as well as offering immigrant and first-generation children, educational opportunities through the public-school system, that enabled them to enter a variety of professions. The East Side was both a launchpad into the world beyond William Street and a place of intense community ties.
Chana Kotzin, “The Jefferson Ave. Shul and the search for East Side Memories,” Buffalo Jewish Review; February 10, 2012, p. 9.
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The East Side was home to hundreds of Jewish businesses. We are trying to find images of businesses along William Street and its surrounding streets. We are also seeking materials relating to synagogues and East Side institutions, as well as home town associations and other groups. Please contact us – or upload here.