Synagogues / Temple Beth David
Temple Beth David was the first synagogue to be founded at its inception as a synagogue affiliated with Conservative Judaism, although once Orthodox shuls had moved towards the Conservative religious stream in Buffalo a few years earlier. Temple Beth David initiated its creation after meeting for the High Holidays of 1921 at Delta Temple Hall ( East Utica and Fillmore Avenue). By 1923, fifty members were meeting at a home at 652 Humboldt Parkway and the group crystallized as a congregation. By 1924, a Ladies’ Auxiliary, a Young Women’s Club and a Men’s Club were organized and the congregation acquired land at 626 Humboldt Parkway. Louis Greenstein was hired as the architect, and he designed the 750-capacity building with soaring ceilings. A school building was built as part of the original structure rather than as a later addition and the new complex was dedicated on August 30, 1925, under the presidency of Joseph Sanes and the vice-presidency of Solomon Brown. Rabbi C. David Matt was elected in 1926 as the first permanent spiritual leader and installed on April 8-9, 1927 serving until 1929. From 1930 the congregation was led by Rabbi Harry Silverstone until 1936, when he returned to succeed his father, also a rabbi, in his hometown. Other distinguished rabbis included Rabbi Judah Nadich, Rabbi Theodore Friedman, Rabbi Moses Lehrman and Rabbi Sidney B. Riback.
Temple Beth David had an active a Ladies’ Auxiliary and a Young Women’s Club with over 300 members, its own boy scout troop group (115), and had a younger demographic than many synagogues. These factors proved the spur for the congregation to leave the Humboldt area as many members relocated to North Buffalo and beyond. In 1955, Beth David merged with Congregation Ner Israel, and sold its building on Humboldt Parkway. It moved into Congregation Ner Israel’s building at Starin Avenue and Taunton in the North Park area, under the merged name of Temple Beth David-Ner Israel.
Many long-standing Buffalo families were associated with Temple Beth David including:
Wedding at Temple Beth David
Korus, Sam 6, Wedding at Temple Beth David, 1951
Temple Beth David, Confirmation Class
Garten, Zalman 1, Temple Beth David, Confirmation, 1947
Garten, Zalman 5, Temple Beth David, Religious School, Report Card, 1940-1941
Zalman Garten, Report Card
Memorial Board, Temple Beth David
Temple Beth David, Star of David Stained Glass
Temple Beth David, Front and School Exteriors
Temple Beth David, Front Exterior
Temple Beth David, Installation Banquet
- For more about the creation of the congregation, see: Selig Adler and Thomas E. Connolly, From Ararat to Suburbia: The History of the Jewish Community of Buffalo. Philadelphia, JPS: 1960.
- James Napora thesis
- Jewish Genealogical Society of Buffalo Records, housed at the University Archives at the University at Buffalo.
- Temple Beth David Scrapbooks in the Muriel Selling Papers (Ms200.06) housed at the University Archives at the University at Buffalo.
- For more about the architect, Louis Greenstein
- For more about Rabbi Harry Silverstone
- Rabbi Judah Nadich Collection at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)
- Rabbi Judah Nadich Biographical Information
- Rabbi Judah Nadich Obituary
- Judah Nadich, Eisenhower and the Jews, NY: Twayne Publishers, 1953
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Our thanks to Temple Beth Tzedek for making their archives available and to individuals who allowed us to use their personal materials. Our thanks to the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies for the use of their Jewish Community Built Environment Survey photographs.