Creating Jewish organizations has been a significant part of Jewish life in Buffalo. Beyond the synagogue, organizations have shaped Buffalo into a thick interconnecting network of associations and often provided an essential service or supported a particular set of values. The first non-congregational organization was the Jacobsohn Society, that helped with burial costs in keeping with religious traditions. Soon after its creation, other benevolent societies with similar goals formed to look after the sick, and bury the dead. The Hebrew Benevolent Society, and its successor the Young Men’s Hebrew Benevolent Society drew members from a mix of affiliations across religious streams (of three synagogues by the 1870s) and occupations. Other successor and contemporary groups included the Hebrew Union Benevolent Association and its affiliate, the Hebrew Ladies’ Benevolent Society. Alongside these came the creation of B’nai B’rith Montefiore Lodge No. 70, Kesher Shel Barzel (Chain of Iron), the Independent Order of the Free Sons of Israel, Free Sons of Benjamin and the Independent Order of B’rith Abraham, the Sisters of Rebecca Lodge No. 12 and the True Sisters Society. In a community numbering no more than 1000 through the mid-1870s, the association possibilities were wide-ranging.
All of the organizations featured in this section began as small voluntary bands, run by, and for members. The number of organizations that were created before 1880, however, were outstripped by the number and range of organizations that originated in the East Side, some of which still have echoes to or direct links to our contemporary organizations, most notably the Hebrew Benevolent Loan Association. Some of the small East Side groups eventually grew into organizations that added paid staff, evolving in size and complexity (and others transitioned to agency status). Beyond the neighborhood cleavage, a range of religious, cultural and educational bodies, community service groups, Zionist and philanthropic organizations, emerged, some with local, regional and national ties, including the Jewish War Veterans and Hadassah. Organizational innovation did not restrict itself to a particular area, but reflected the period in which they were created. In the post WWII period, another surge of organization building began offering service to students through Hillel and Kadimah. These organizations were joined by groups including the Holocaust Resource Center, Mikvah, Chabad, and Ohr Temimim.
Holy Order of the Living
Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein
Knights of Pythias
Poland Jewish Cemeteries Restoration Project
The Forum Club
Jewish Discovery Center
B’nai B’rith Women
Buffalo Jewish Review
Talmud Torah (Buffalo Hebrew School)
Buffalo Hebrew Sheltering Home
Jewish Genealogical Society of Buffalo
Israel Bonds, Buffalo Section
American Jewish Committee Buffalo Section
Hebrew Academy of Buffalo
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Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein (UUV)
Organizations / Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein (UUV) The Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein (UUV) was founded in 1913 as an immigrant benefit club that provided social, credit and death benefits to its members with Sokolivka roots.OverviewThe Ustingrader...
Holy Order of the Living Cemetery
Organizations / Holy Order of the Living Cemetery Holy Order of the Living was founded in 1909 and is located in Cheektowaga on Pine Ridge Road.OverviewHoly Order of the Living was founded in 1909 to provide burial rights according to Orthodox ritual. The cemetery...
National Council of Jewish Women, Buffalo Section
Organizations / National Council of Jewish Women, Buffalo SectionThe National Council of Jewish Women was founded in 1893 in Chicago and the Buffalo Section formed just two years later in 1895. The section focused on service and advocacy in several areas including...
B’nai B’rith Girls
Organizations / B'nai B'rith GirlsB’nai B’rith Girls formed as a girls youth wing of the local B’nai B’rith parent organization, supported by B’nai B’rith Women. It provided a whole range of social, educational, religious and service opportunities for Jewish girls...
Jewish Mothers Club
Organizations / Jewish Mothers ClubThe Jewish Mothers Club began as an all-volunteer effort to help women and their families living on the East Side of Buffalo with childcare and temporary foster care. It was active from the early years of the twentieth century to...
Hadassah of Greater Buffalo
Organizations / Hadassah of Greater Buffalo Greater Buffalo Hadassah is a local chapter of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, a Jewish women’s voluntary organization and the largest Jewish membership organization in the United States. As a...
Organizations / Ohr TemimimOhr Temimim is a Chabad affiliated day school for children from nursery through 8th grade that grew out of a merger of the Jewish Heritage Day School and Torah Temimah Day School in 2008. In 2014, the school underwent a major expansion of...
Holocaust Resource Center
Organizations / Holocaust Resource CenterThe Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo, teaches the lessons of the Holocaust, remembers the survivors and victims of the Holocaust and promote social justice, civic responsibility, and human rights through documentation and...
Organizations / Kadimah SchoolThe Kadimah School of Buffalo was incorporated on August 17, 1959 and began its first school year with 15 students. Over the years it expanded to more than 200 students from K-8th, and rented homes at both Jewish Community Center sites,...
Hillel Foundation of Buffalo
Organizations / Hillel Foundation of BuffaloHillel of Buffalo at the University of Buffalo is a campus student organization that serves Jewish student communities in Greater Buffalo. In 1946, it was founded as a part-time Councillorship supported by the local B’nai...
Jewish War Veterans Buffalo Frontier Post #25
Organizations / Jewish War Veterans, Buffalo Frontier Post # 25Jewish War Veterans of America Post 25 was founded in 1929 as a local post of Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV). The post held annual commemorative events on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Yom HaShoah,...
Organizations / MikvahThe Mikvah (also known as the Buffalo Ritualarium) in Amherst, NY opened in 2000. Fundraising and its construction began in 1998. It suceeded the Kenmore Mikvah, located at 1248 Kenmore Avenue, Buffalo, NY.OverviewA mikvah (מִקְוֶה Hebrew for...
Gemilut Hasidim-Hebrew Benevolent Loan Association (HBLA)
Organizations / Hebrew Benevolent Loan AssociationGemilath-Chasodim (Acts of Loving Kindness) known as the Hebrew Benevolent Loan Association (HBLA) was founded in 1897 and incorporated in 1898, to provide interest-free loans to Jews in need.OverviewIn May 1897, a...
Chabad House of Buffalo
Organizations / Chabad House of BuffaloChabad House of Buffalo began as an outreach program to college age students at the University at Buffalo campuses and Buffalo State College in the early 1970s. It continues that mission today.OverviewIn 1971 Rabbi Noson Gurary...
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