People  /  People A to Z

The Buffalo region has been home to individuals associated with local Jewish communities and Jewish networks, from the 1820s to our more contemporary times as immigrants, citizens, residents and locals. Discover more about the lives they lived.


Since Mordecai Manuel Noah gave his oration at St Paul’s Episcopal Church (now St Paul’s Cathedral) in 1825, Jews have been a part of the Greater Buffalo story. This online biographical dictionary includes a broad array of individuals with Jewish backgrounds, who are now deceased, and who have been a part of Jewish peoplehood, Jewish communal organizations and Jewish networks from the 1820’s to our contemporary times.

This expanding resource includes Jewish men and women who have participated in the life of Greater Buffalo, sometimes in a specific way, through their civic endeavor, work, businesses and professions, the arts, culture and music, as teachers and academics, philanthropists, inventors, scientists, engineers, medical personnel and more. It includes those who came to this region as immigrants from outside of the United States and migrants from other places within America who chose to make their home here, sometimes permanently. It embraces those who were born and raised in Jewish homes and those who became a part of Jewish families and Jewish peoplehood.

This online dictionary encompasses their stories supported by links to resources.  We will be regularly adding to this section, however, we welcome suggestions. If you would like to propose a person for inclusion, please let us know, or upload information that you have.

Biographical Profiles

New Additions

Rabbi Dr. Joseph L. Fink and Rabbi Dr. Martin L. Goldberg

This selection of profiles represents a cross-section of personalities across time. We will be continually adding to this section.


Abbey, Harlan C.

People A-Z  /  Harlan C. AbbeyJournalist. Horseman. Author. 1930–2014OverviewHarlan C. Abbey was a newspaper sportswriter, author, newspaper editor, horse rider and racer and horse owner. Born in Cleveland, he developed an early passion for horses and worked as a...

Read More →

Aaron, Rabbi Israel

People A-Z  /  Rabbi Israel Aaron1859–1912OverviewBorn on November 20, 1859, in Lancaster, Philadelphia to Moses Aaron, a German Jewish immigrant from Hesse-Darmstadt, Israel Aaron’s birth was recorded in Congregation Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia mohel records. Israel...

Read More →

Goldberg, Rabbi Dr. Martin L.

People A-Z  /  Rabbi Dr. Martin L. Goldberg Rabbi and Community Leader (1925-2002)OverviewDr. Martin L. Goldberg blended attentive pastoral care and religious leadership in his rabbinic career of more than 40 years as Rabbi, Senior Rabbi and Rabbi Emeritus at Temple...

Read More →

Abramovitz, Max

People A-Z  /  Max AbramovitzArchitect 1908–2004OverviewMax Abramovitz was born in Chicago in 1908, the son of working-class Romanian Jewish immigrants. He attended the University of Illinois and received a BS degree, in architectural engineering in 1929. At Columbia...

Read More →

Adler, Selig

People A-Z  /  Selig AdlerHistorian and Author. Distinguished Professor. 1909–1984OverviewDistinguished Professor Selig Adler (1909-1984) chronicled the history of the Jewish community in Buffalo from the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century,...

Read More →

Altman, Sadie

People A-Z  /  Sadie Strauss Rayner Altman Author, Social Reformer, Women’s Rights activist 1860-1936Overview Born in Baltimore in 1860 to Henry and Wilhelmina Strauss, Sadie had a privileged upbringing including bilingual education in Germany. As a child and teen she...

Read More →

Arlen, Harold

People A-Z  /  Harold Arlen Music composer 1905-1986OverviewHarold Arlen was a composer, singer, pianist, and arranger, but was most known for his Academy award winning musical and film compositions, many of which remain classics of American musical culture. Born...

Read More →

Brodsky, Linda MD

People A-Z  /  Linda Brodsky, MDA specialist in pediatric swallowing and feeding disorders and a fair treatment and wage equalization activist. 1952-2014OverviewBorn in 1952 on Long Island, New York, Linda Brodsky graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1974 followed by...

Read More →

Bunis, Anne

People A-Z  /  Anne BunisEntrepreneur, Founder, Philanthropist 1901-1999Overview Born in Russia in 1901 as Anna Wiener to parents, Morris and Dora Wiener, Anne as she would become, arrived in Rochester as a six-year old immigrant child. As the eldest of eight...

Read More →

Bunshaft, Gordon

People A-Z  /  Gordon BunshaftArchitect 1909-1990OverviewGordon Bunshaft was born in 1909 in Buffalo, to parents David and Yetta, who were first cousins, from a small village in what is now Ukraine. The couple emigrated to the United States in 1908, first to Boston...

Read More →

Cohn, Ann H.

People A-Z  /  Ann H. Cohn1926–2017OverviewAnn Cohn née Holland, was born on June 2, 1926. Growing up in Kenmore, through the Depression in the first “suburb” of Buffalo, she came of age during the Second World War. The Holland family were affiliated with Temple Beth...

Read More →

Coplon, David

People A-Z  /  David Coplon1882-1976OverviewDavid Hascal Coplon emigrated to the United States as a child with his family. Born in Shavl, Lithuania on January 18, 1882, he and his family were part of the mass movement of Jewish immigrants who came to the United States...

Read More →

Coplon, Rosa

People A-Z  /  Rosa CoplonFounder, Lay Leader, Volunteer 1855-1920Overview Rosa Berman was born in 1855 in Shavl in Eastern Europe, then part of the Russian Pale of Settlement, and now a part of Lithuania. In 1878 she married Samuel Coplon, a skilled glazier, and...

Read More →

Drumlevitch, Seymour

People A-Z  /  Seymour DrumlevitchArtist 1923–1989OverviewBorn in Brooklyn in 1923, Drumlevitch attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan. He later studied at the New School for Social Research in New York, taking art classes at the Cooper School of Art...

Read More →

Rabbi Dr. Joseph L. Fink

People A-Z  /  Rabbi, Dr. Joseph L. FinkRabbi and Community Leader 1895-1964OverviewDr. Joseph L. Fink was a nationally respected rabbinic leader, skilled mediator and inspiring speaker who led Temple Beth Zion for forty years as Rabbi, Senior Rabbi and Rabbi...

Read More →

Flintrowitz, Marcus

People A-Z  /  Marcus Flintrowitz Soldier and Cigar Maker (c.1816-1882) Overview Marcus Flintrowitz was born in Kraków, and came to Buffalo in 1846 and initially worked as a barber. Soon after, he enlisted for service in the Mexican-American War on February 6, 1847...

Read More →

Greenstein, Louis

People A-Z  /  Louis GreensteinArchitect 1886-1972OverviewLouis Greenstein was born in 1886 in Buffalo at a time of significant Jewish immigration into the city. As a professional architect, he created commercial, religious, civic and residential designs that followed...

Read More →

Hauptman, Dr. Herbert

People A-Z  /  Herbert Hauptman, Ph.D.Mathematician. Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry, 1985 1917–2011OverviewHerbert Aaron Hauptman was born in New York City, New York on February 14, 1917. He attended the City College of New York where he earned a Bachelor of Science...

Read More →

Jacobs, Kurt R.

People A-Z  /  Kurt R. Jacobs Soldier, Military Intelligence Service, WWII, “Ritchie Boy”.OverviewKurt Jacobs was born Kurt Jacobsohn in Berlin, Germany in November 1909 and studied law, but eventually made a career in clothing and manufacturing. In 1936, at the age...

Read More →

Joseph, Shirley

People A-Z  /  Shirley Troyan Joseph International Jewish, and women’s rights advocate. 1925–2017OverviewShirley Troyan Joseph was a feminist Jewish activist and a Jewish women's rights leader who worked in community organizations and advocacy groups at local,...

Read More →

Klein, Gerda Weissmann

People A-Z  /  Gerda Weissmann KleinHumanitarian, Holocaust Survivor, author, public speaker and Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree. 1924-2022OverviewFrom Bielsko to Volary Gerda Weissmann (later Klein) was born in Bielsko, Poland, on May 8, 1924. Growing up into a...

Read More →

Klein, Dr. Rabbi Isaac

People A-Z  /  Rabbi Isaac Klein1905–1979OverviewRabbi Isaac Klein (1905-1979) was born in a village in Czechoslovakia on September 8, 1905. He migrated to the United States in 1920. Studying at the Elchanan Yeshiva (now part of Yeshiva University) he earned a...

Read More →

Klein, Kurt

People A-Z  /  Kurt KleinHumanitarian, public speaker, former refugee, US Military Intelligence Service officer, “Ritchie Boy.” 1920-2002OverviewBirth and Emigration to the USA Kurt Klein was born in Walldorf, near Heidelberg, in Baden, Germany to parents, Alice and...

Read More →

Kramer, Leslie Shuman

People A-Z  /  Leslie Shuman Kramer Community leader, activist and advocate. 1961-2022OverviewLeslie Shuman Kramer was a dedicated community leader, former attorney and a committed advocate and fundraiser for many causes, especially the fight against cancer. Born in...

Read More →

Luskin, Samuel

People A-Z  /  Samuel S. Luskin1882–1959OverviewSamuel Luskin was a music teacher, composer and performer in Buffalo from 1911 to 1957, originally a Jewish immigrant from Russia. Born in Horka, Mogilev in 1882 to Leon and Fannie Luskin, the Luskin family fled Russia...

Read More →

Milstein, Milton

People A-Z  /  Milton MilsteinArchitect 1911-1993OverviewMilton Milstein was born in Brooklyn in 1911, trained at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University, and was granted a license to practice in 1942. He was made a fellow of the American Institute of...

Read More →

Noah, Mordecai Manuel

People A-Z  /  Mordecai Manuel NoahJudge, Writer, Utopian and Proto-Zionist. 1785–1851OverviewMordecai Manuel Noah was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 19, 1785 to Manuel Noah, a Revolutionary war hero and Zipporah Phillips a descendent of Dr. Samuel Nunez,...

Read More →

Rabinowitz, Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef

People A-Z  /  Rabbi Joseph RabinowitzRabbi Eliyahu Yosef Rabinowitz, Linzer Rebbe from Buffalo 1856–1910OverviewPine Ridge is the site of an ohel (tomb) for Rabbi Joseph Rabinowitz (b. ca 1856; d. Buffalo, November 14, 1910).  Due to the proximity of the Ohel in...

Read More →

Rosen, Sylvia L.

People A-Z  /  Sylvia Lieh RosenCeramic Artist, Teacher, Philanthropist. 1919-2022OverviewDefying the attitudes of establishment art critics and institutions in WNY, Sylvia Rosen, upended definitions of what constituted art, giving craft artists the philanthropic...

Read More →

Wiener, Cecil

People A-Z  /  Cecil WienerSuffragette, Judge, Social Welfare Professional. 1874–1960OverviewCecil B. Wiener was a woman of many “firsts” over a working life of more than fifty years. Born in 1874, Cecilia Bertha Wiener, known as Cecil, was the daughter of Magnus...

Read More →