State University of New York at Albany
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.
Processed in 2014 by Jason Thomas.
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.
The materials are located onsite in the department.
The Jews in Albany, New York by 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, in
Being 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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.