NYC Synagogue Database circa 1939 with names of some rabbis #rabbinic


For all of you who would like to be able to have a database of New
York City synagogues to search, you may be interested in knowing
about a NYC Synagogue Database based upon the 1939 WPA Project's
cataloguing of NYC Synagogues.

In 1939 the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress
Administration conducted a survey of all known houses of worship
in the United States, both Jewish and non-Jewish. The over 2000
synagogue listings for New York City reside on five rolls of
microfilm at the New York City Municipal Archives as Microfilm
#'s (M.N.) 21318-21322, Roll #'s 319-323.

Ada Green and Judi Langer-Surnamer Caplan have completed extracting
a great deal of the data available about all the synagogues in all
five NYC boroughs catalogued in this circa 1939 survey.

The resulting Excell spreadsheet is now available as a finding aid on
the two public computers at the NYC Municipal Archives.

In addition, this shul database will also be available for searching
on the computers in the Resource Room at the 26th IAJGS Conference.

The database field headings include: Form #, Card #, Roll #, Year
Organized, Name of Organization, Alternate Names and English
Translation, Street Number and Street, Location in Borough, Borough,
and Comments.

As each then existing NYC synagogue was given a Synagogue Records
Form containing 14 questions, under "comments" there are various
details that might show up such as the names of the rabbis, the
educational training of the rabbis or their affilaition, the
consolidation and/or dissolution of synagogues and minyanim, the
physical appearance of buildings, the cemeteries where synagogues
had burial plots, and histories of the synagogues, including former

For more a detailed overview of the database with examples please
visit the Online Introduction to this NYC Shul database at

We all owe a great debt to the hard-working, dedicated people who
were the field researchers back in the late 1930s and early 1940s
who were involved in this WPA project surveying New York City
synagogues including: Harold Albaum, Joe Eisinger, Samuel Gerson,
William Gubin, Milton Hirsch, Bernard Kasper, Elsie Katz, Ellis
Kramer, Morris Levine, M. Portner, Doris Radzyner, William Rubin,
Celia Rogow, Beatrice Schwartz, Max Simon, Harry Sohn, Yakov Tarle,
and Helen Zuckerman. Without their valiant efforts we would not have
the wealth of material we now have today to draw upon in this

Judi Langer-Surnamer Caplan and Ada Green

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