Synagogues  /  Anshe Sokolivka

The congregation of Anshe Sokolivka formed around 1908 and was also known as the Spring Street Shul.

Overview

Known as the “Spring Street Shul,” Anshe Sokolovka built their congregational home at 350 Spring Street in 1917, between William and Peckham just under a decade after they formed informally and then through incorporation in 1915. Many of the members of Anshe Sokolovka (“People of Sokolivka”) were from two connected towns in the Russian Empire: Sokolivka and Yustingrad. (Ustingrad). Although many Sokolivkers left for America over a decade from 1908, the final push came after a series of three pogroms in 1918. These pogroms were vividly recalled by survivor, Chaika Aliotz Shuman, and her testimony later informed part of a book called The Shuman Story. A memorial for those murdered during the pogroms and which bears their names is located in the cemetery of the Holy Order of the Living. It was erected by the Sokelifker landsleit and dedicated on August 30, 1964, designed by Parker Komm of Leon Komm and Son Monument Company. As many as 200 families emigrated from Sokolivka to Buffalo including the family names of Ablove, Berkun, Carrel, Chernoff, Dzoretz, Gelman, Kahn, Kaprove, Liberman, Rekoon, Rovner, Shuman and Wagner among others. A Benevolent Society, called the Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein was created in 1913 and continued beyond the life of the congregation that closed in 1945. Two of the Verein booklets are available here and here and detail the rich life of the society and its members. Sokolifkers were also associated with other synagogues, including Rabbi Joseph Rabinowitz who led Brith Sholem from 1908 to 1910. His ohel is located on Pine Ridge near the entranceway to B’nai Israel cemetery. Another rabbi from Sokolivka, Rabbi Gedaliah Kaprow led Humboldt Orthodox Center also known as the Glenwood Avenue shul located in mid-Buffalo in the Humboldt area. Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative synagogues in Greater Buffalo all have members who can trace their way back to Sokolivka. Cousin clubs have been very much a part of Sokolivka community activities and there have been a number of reunions. A large gathering of Sokolivkers was held in Buffalo in 1991. The booklet for this event created by a key organizer Ferne Mittleman is available here, and the original is found in extensive materials she assembled over years of research, that are part of the Cofeld Judaic Museum holdings. Many Sokolivka descendants are active in leadership roles within Jewish organizations in Greater Buffalo.

Did you know?

The Spring Street shul as a landsmann synagogue is connected to the broader Sokolivka community. Sokolivka is in current day Ukraine, but has a variety of names in Polish, Yiddish, Russian and Ukrainian:  Sokolivka [Ukr], Sokolovka [Rus], Justingrad, Sokolowka, Sokoluvka, Stara Vies, Zaluzie, Zahojpole, Zahajpol, Yustingrad, Ustingrad, Justynhrad [Pol].  Before World War I, Sokolivka/Yustingrad was located in the Russian Empire. Positioned 98 miles south of Kiev and 179 miles north of Odessa, it was located near both the Romanian and Austro-Hungarian borders.

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A growing number of resources about Sokolivka and Sokolivkers in Buffalo and America, include:

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We are seeking any photographs, documents, mementos, film, video or written recollections relating to Congregation Anshe Sokolivka, also known as the Spring Street Shul for digitization. If you have materials you’d like to make available for this purpose, please contact us.