Synagogues / Anshe Sokolivka
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.
Certificate of Incorporation of Anshe Sukeliefki, 1915
Certificate of Incorporation of Anshe Sukeliefki, 1915. Courtesy of Larry Rubin and the Office of the Erie County Clerk.
Ustingrader Unterstitzung Verein Band Corp, Buffalo, 1934
A growing number of resources about Sokolivka and Sokolivkers in Buffalo and America, include:
- Selig Adler and Thomas Connolly, From Ararat to Suburbia: The History of the Jewish Community of Buffalo, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1960.
- A study of Sokolivka Jews in America through the lens of a family can be read in: Joseph M. (Joseph Moses) Gillman with Etta C. Gillman, The B’nai Khaim in America; a study of cultural change in a Jewish group, Philadelphia: Dorrance, c1969.
- Leo Miller and Diana F. Miller, eds. Sokolievka / Justingrad: A Century of Struggle and Suffering in a Ukrainian Shtetl, As Recounted by Survivors to its Scattered Descendants (Sokolivka, Ukraine), NYC, 1983
- Ferne E. Mittleman with Hyman, Charles and Irving Shuman, The Shuman Story: The Life and Times of Peretz Shuman and Chaika Aliotz Shuman (based on the writings of Chaika Aliotz Shuman), Amherst: Welcome Magazine/Julie Kianof More, 2000.
- Detailed website with many references to Buffalo’s Sokolivka families, as well as the cemetery memorial to pogrom victims.
- The Jewish Gen community page is helpful for its links to materials about Justingrad/Sokolivka but also surrounding villages.