Albany, New York Jewish Community Collection, 1905-1990

Descriptive Identification

Unit ID
mss037
Repository
M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives
Extent
2.03 cubic ft.
creator
Greater Albany Jewish Federation
Location
The materials are located onsite in the department.
Abstract
The Jewish Community of the Albany, New York area is featured in the Collection which was brought together to show community involvement in the region by the Greater Albany Jewish Federation and the University Libraries of the University at Albany, SUNY. This collection contains photographs, meeting minutes, commemoration papers, local area newspapers, academic articles, community reports, and a prayer book.

Administrative Information

Processing Information

Processed in 2014 by Jason Thomas.

Access

Access to these records is unrestricted with the exception of one folder marked on the inventory.

Copyright

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Acquisition Information

This is an organically assembled collection initially brought together by the Greater Albany Jewish Federation and the University Libraries of the University at Albany, SUNY in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Albany, New York Jewish Community Collection, 1905-1990. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Albany Jewish Community Collection).

Biographical Sketch

According toThe Jews in Albany, New Yorkby Louis Silver, the first Jewish settlers in the fast growing commercial center that became Albany arrived in the mid-1650s. This small community declined as trade diminished during the late 17th Century and there was no organized Jewish community in the area during the 18th Century. As trade and immigration from Central Europe to Albany flourished during the early 19th Century, the Jewish population increased and Albany's first synagogue was dedicated in 1841. Eastern European Jews, predominantly Poles and Russians, began immigrating to Albany in the mid- to late-19th Century. As a direct result of this influx of newcomers, Silver cites the Jewish population in Albany in 1886 as being approximately 3,000. By the turn of the 20th Century, this number reached 4,000 and continued to grow. According to Henry Brownstein, inBeing Jewish in Albany, New York: Origins and Manifestations of Diversity, the Jewish population in Albany was around 13,500 by the late 1970s.

Throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries, Jews in Albany created additional synagogues along with fraternal and philanthropic organizations. This included a local chapter of B'nai B'rith, a home for the aged, a women's benevolent society, the Jewish Community Center, a YMHA and YWHA and more. An organized Jewish labor movement also began in earnest in the 1890s.

The Greater Albany Jewish Federation was originally called the Albany Jewish Community Council when it was established in 1952. It was renamed the Greater Albany Jewish Federation in 1978. It was again renamed in 1986 to the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York after it merged with other Jewish organizations in the region. It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve the Jewish community in the region.

Scope and Contents

The collection documents Jewish life in the Greater Albany area of New York and consists of two series: Series 1: Subject Files, Series 2: Photographs. Series 1 contains the meeting minutes of the Congregation of Beth El Jacob from 1957-1961, local area Jewish newspapers, newspaper clippings, mortgage files, various local area Jewish organizations’ anniversary commemoration pamphlets, community reports, a master list of Soviet Jewish immigrants, and a bound volume of a Jewish prayer book in Yiddish. Series 2 contains photographs and portraits, many taken by Morris Gerber depicting special events, military personnel, and everyday life in the Jewish community between 1926 and 1961.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into the following series:

Both series are arranged alphabetically

Components List

  • Subject Files, 1905-1990 Undated

    Unit ID
    1
    Extent
    1.43 cubic ft.
    Scope and Contents

    Series 1 contains the meeting minutes of the Congregation of Beth El Jacob from 1957-1961, local area Jewish newspapers, newspaper clippings, mortgage files, various local area Jewish organizations’ anniversary commemoration pamphlets, academic articles, community reports, a master list of Soviet Jewish immigrants, and a bound volume of a Jewish prayer book in Yiddish.

    • Adjustment of Soviet Jewish Immigrants in the Albany (N.Y.) Areaby Walter P Zenner and Debra Hiller, 1983
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      1
    • The Albany Jewish World, 1976 1979
      Oversized
      1
      Folder
      1
    • Being Jewish in Albany, New York: Origins and Manifestations of Diversityby Henry H. Brownstein, 1975
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      2
    • Certificate of Incorporation of the United Brethren Society of Albany, NY, 1905
      Oversized
      1
      Folder
      2
    • Commemorative Papers – Albany Area Jewish Organizations, 1970 1983 1990
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      3
    • Jewish Communal Survey of Albany, NY, 1947
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      4
    • Jewish Community Center – Schedule of Classes, 1979
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      5
    • The Jews in Albany, New Yorkby Louis Silver, 1954
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      6
    • Meeting Minutes – Congregation Beth El Jacob’s United Brethren, 1956 1958-1960
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      7-8
    • Meeting Minutes – Congregation Beth El Jacob’s United Brethren, 1961
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      9
    • Mortgage Documents, United Brethren Society, 1939 1942 1952 1960
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      10
    • Order of Consolidation – Congregation Beth El Jacob and Agudas Achim Congregation (United Brethren Society Cognregation), 1959
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      11
    • Plaque, Congregation Sons of Abraham, 1931
      Oversized
      2
    • Program, Dedication of Newly Acquired Building for Congregation Sons of Abraham, 1959
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      12
    • Program, The Completed New Congregation Sons of Abraham, 1962
      Oversized
      1
      Folder
      3
    • Skull Cap and Prayer Book from the Wedding of Libby Jochnowitz and Behzad Khajehzadeh, 1978
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      13
    • Shas Tehine, Undated
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      14
    • Soviet Jewish Immigrants Master List-[RESTRICTED], 1974-1981
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      15
      Conditions Governing Access

      Must consult archivist before viewing this material.

    • Times UnionPhoto Clipping, 1947
      Box
      1 (1-Subject Files)
      Folder
      16
  • Photographs, 1926-1961

    Unit ID
    2
    Extent
    0.6 cubic ft.
    Scope and Contents

    Series 2 contains photographs, many taken by Morris Gerber, which document the Jewish community of the greater Albany area in the early- to mid-Twentieth Century. These include photographs of special events, portraits, military personnel, and everyday life.

    • Events, 1935-1936 1939
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      1
    • Events, 1945 1947 1949
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      2
    • Events, 1953-1955 1957-1960
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      3
    • Events, Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      4-6
    • Events – Award Ceremonies, 1957 1959
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      7
    • Events – B’nai B’rith, 1956 1959
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      8
    • Events – Business, 1943 1953 1958
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      9
    • Events – Business, 1959-1960
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      10
    • Events – Business, Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      11
    • Events – Charity, 1952 1959 Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      12
    • Events – Congregation Sons of Abraham, Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      13
    • Events – Old Philologians, 1945 1947 Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      14
    • Events – Temple Beth Emeth, 1938 1956 1958 Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      15
    • Events – Temple Israel, 1926 Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      16
    • Events – Variety Club, 1950 1953-1954 1956-1959
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      17
    • Events – Variety Club, Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      18
    • Events – Women’s Organizations, 1937 1946 1951 1960 Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      19
    • Everyday Life in Greater Albany, 1927 1931-1932 1934-1935
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      20
    • Everyday Life in Greater Albany, 1937-1938 1940-1941
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      21
    • Everyday Life in Greater Albany, 1943-1945 1947 1950
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      22
    • Everyday Life in Greater Albany, 1952-1960
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      23
    • Everyday Life in Greater Albany, Undated
      Box
      2 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      24-25
    • Military, 1942-1946 1949
      Box
      3 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      1
    • Military, 1953-1954 1957
      Box
      3 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      2
    • Military, Undated
      Box
      3 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      3
    • Portraits, 1935 1937 1939 1942-1943
      Box
      3 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      4
    • Portraits, 1953-1957 1959
      Box
      3 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      5
    • Portraits, 1960-1961
      Box
      3 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      6
    • Portraits, Undated
      Box
      3 (2-Photographs)
      Folder
      7-8