Reprinted with permission as a public service by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier, now the Preservation Buffalo Niagara

Houses of Worship: A Guide to the Religious Architecture of Buffalo, New York
By James Napora
Table of Contents

1237 Hertel (S)
Architect: Jack Kushin
Founded 1947

The B'rith Israel Anshe Ames Synagogue came into existence as a result of a merger of the B'rith Israel Synagogue or the Hickory Street Shul (destroyed) and the Anshe Ames Synagogue also of Hickory Street (destroyed) in 1947.

The first permanent synagogue built by Jewish immigrants to the city in the 1880s, B'rith Israel Synagogue also functioned as the first Hasidic synagogue in the city. Although gatherings of people had occurred earlier, the congregation is recognized as being organized on 13 February, 1887. It was organized primarily to serve the Hasidic Russian Jewry who would not worship with the Lithuanians.

Originally worshiping at 160 Lutheran Alley, the congregation later purchased sites on Mortimer and Hickory Streets. During the Panic of 1893, they experienced a decrease in members and sold their Mortimer Street property. In 1898, they constructed a modest building at 209 Hickory, north of William, remaining here until the 1912 completion,of a new 800 seat house of worship at 177 Hickory. At the time of the move, they sold their old building to the Anshe Ames Congregation.

The Congregation Anshe Ames is recognized as being a small one. With the purchase of their own building in 1912, they constantly struggled to remain afloat. They experienced their peak period in the early 1930s when a rabbi, known for his sermons, lead the congregation. Both congregations remained at their Hickory Street locations until the early 1940s By then, the Jewish East Side had passed into history. The congregation of B'rith Israel was the first to move. They relocated to a converted apartment at 1191 Hertel Avenue, being joined by members of Anshe Ames in 1947.

Having outgrown their small rented quarters in the early 1950s they began planning for the building at 1237 Hertel. They broke ground in 1953, and in January, 1954 moved, into the basement of their partially completed house of worship. Finished at a cost of $80.000, they formally dedicated their 390 seat building during services on 30 August, 1954.

Hertel Avenue - Table of Contents

1995 James Napora
Page by Chuck LaChiusa with the assistance of David Torke
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