NYC Synagogue Database circa 1939 with some Galician References #galicia
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
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 Excel 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 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 addresses.
There are also mentions of people >from Galicia in this database such as:
The Congregation of Galician Zionists, on Washington Avenue in the Bronx,
incorporated 1918, held services in a rented store, at 418 (or 481?) East
167 St. until 1925 when a 3-story red shingled building was occupied. It
has burial plots at Riverside Cemetery.
The First Brezower Bruck Sick Benevolent Society, Anshei Bregow of City of
New York (People of Brezow), on East Houston Street was first organized by
people >from Brezow, Galicia, in 1902 as a society with the name of First
Brezower Bruck Sick Benevolent Society, and then later in 1924 as a
synagogue. It has burial plots at Mt. Zion and Mt. Hebron.
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
Judi Langer-Surnamer Caplan and Ada Green