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Albany, New York Jewish Community Collection

M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives

Inclusive Date: 1905-1990

Greater Albany Jewish Federation

2.03 cubic ft.

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.

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Collection Details

Processed in 2014 by Jason Thomas.

The materials are located onsite in the department.

According to, 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, in, 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.

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.

The collection is organized into the following series:
Both series are arranged alphabetically

Collection Access & Use

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

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.

Preferred citation for this material is as follows: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).

Collection Subjects & Formats

Series 1: Subject Files

Inclusive Date: 1905-1990

Inclusive Date: Undated

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.) Area by Walter P Zenner and Debra Hiller

Inclusive Date: 1983

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 1

The Albany Jewish World

Inclusive Date: 1976

Inclusive Date: 1979

Oversized: 1

Folder: 1

Being Jewish in Albany, New York: Origins and Manifestations of Diversity by Henry H. Brownstein

Inclusive Date: 1975

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 2

Certificate of Incorporation of the United Brethren Society of Albany, NY

Inclusive Date: 1905

Oversized: 1

Folder: 2

Commemorative Papers – Albany Area Jewish Organizations

Inclusive Date: 1970

Inclusive Date: 1983

Inclusive Date: 1990

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 3

Jewish Communal Survey of Albany, NY

Inclusive Date: 1947

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 4

Jewish Community Center – Schedule of Classes

Inclusive Date: 1979

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 5

The Jews in Albany, New York by Louis Silver

Inclusive Date: 1954

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 6

Meeting Minutes – Congregation Beth El Jacob’s United Brethren

Inclusive Date: 1956

Inclusive Date: 1958-1960

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 7-8

Meeting Minutes – Congregation Beth El Jacob’s United Brethren

Inclusive Date: 1961

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 9

Mortgage Documents, United Brethren Society

Inclusive Date: 1939

Inclusive Date: 1942

Inclusive Date: 1952

Inclusive Date: 1960

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 10

Order of Consolidation – Congregation Beth El Jacob and Agudas Achim Congregation (United Brethren Society Cognregation)

Inclusive Date: 1959

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 11

Plaque, Congregation Sons of Abraham

Inclusive Date: 1931

Oversized: 2

Program, Dedication of Newly Acquired Building for Congregation Sons of Abraham

Inclusive Date: 1959

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 12

Program, The Completed New Congregation Sons of Abraham

Inclusive Date: 1962

Oversized: 1

Folder: 3

Skull Cap and Prayer Book from the Wedding of Libby Jochnowitz and Behzad Khajehzadeh

Inclusive Date: 1978

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 13

Shas Tehine

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 14

Soviet Jewish Immigrants Master List-[RESTRICTED]

Inclusive Date: 1974-1981

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 15

Times Union Photo Clipping

Inclusive Date: 1947

Box: 1 (1-Subject Files)

Folder: 16

Series 2: Photographs

Inclusive Date: 1926-1961

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

Inclusive Date: 1935-1936

Inclusive Date: 1939

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 1

Events

Inclusive Date: 1945

Inclusive Date: 1947

Inclusive Date: 1949

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 2

Events

Inclusive Date: 1953-1955

Inclusive Date: 1957-1960

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 3

Events

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 4-6

Events – Award Ceremonies

Inclusive Date: 1957

Inclusive Date: 1959

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 7

Events – B’nai B’rith

Inclusive Date: 1956

Inclusive Date: 1959

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 8

Events – Business

Inclusive Date: 1943

Inclusive Date: 1953

Inclusive Date: 1958

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 9

Events – Business

Inclusive Date: 1959-1960

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 10

Events – Business

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 11

Events – Charity

Inclusive Date: 1952

Inclusive Date: 1959

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 12

Events – Congregation Sons of Abraham

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 13

Events – Old Philologians

Inclusive Date: 1945

Inclusive Date: 1947

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 14

Events – Temple Beth Emeth

Inclusive Date: 1938

Inclusive Date: 1956

Inclusive Date: 1958

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 15

Events – Temple Israel

Inclusive Date: 1926

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 16

Events – Variety Club

Inclusive Date: 1950

Inclusive Date: 1953-1954

Inclusive Date: 1956-1959

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 17

Events – Variety Club

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 18

Events – Women’s Organizations

Inclusive Date: 1937

Inclusive Date: 1946

Inclusive Date: 1951

Inclusive Date: 1960

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 19

Everyday Life in Greater Albany

Inclusive Date: 1927

Inclusive Date: 1931-1932

Inclusive Date: 1934-1935

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 20

Everyday Life in Greater Albany

Inclusive Date: 1937-1938

Inclusive Date: 1940-1941

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 21

Everyday Life in Greater Albany

Inclusive Date: 1943-1945

Inclusive Date: 1947

Inclusive Date: 1950

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 22

Everyday Life in Greater Albany

Inclusive Date: 1952-1960

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 23

Everyday Life in Greater Albany

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 2 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 24-25

Military

Inclusive Date: 1942-1946

Inclusive Date: 1949

Box: 3 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 1

Military

Inclusive Date: 1953-1954

Inclusive Date: 1957

Box: 3 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 2

Military

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 3 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 3

Portraits

Inclusive Date: 1935

Inclusive Date: 1937

Inclusive Date: 1939

Inclusive Date: 1942-1943

Box: 3 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 4

Portraits

Inclusive Date: 1953-1957

Inclusive Date: 1959

Box: 3 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 5

Portraits

Inclusive Date: 1960-1961

Box: 3 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 6

Portraits

Inclusive Date: Undated

Box: 3 (2-Photographs)

Folder: 7-8