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Charlotte E. Gendler Papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0200-0009

Scope and Contents

The papers of Charlotte Gendler offer an understanding of several under documented organizations in the Buffalo Jewish community. Series I highlights aspects of Temple Beth David-Ner Israel during the decades of the 1950s and 1960s. This was a critical period for the movement of Conservative Judaism, both nationally and locally, as increasing numbers of members moved towards Reform Judaism.

Series II touches on the Council of Conservative Synagogues, in Buffalo, NY. This organization included four local Conservative synagogues: Temple Beth David-Ner Israel, Temple Beth El, Temple Emanu-el and Temple Sinai (also Reconstructionist and Reform) and documents its activities, which were aimed at strengthening the position of Conservative Judaism in Buffalo.

Series III includes a variety of materials relating to synagogue and organizational memberships or memorabilia including Beth Tzedek (which was a successor to Shaarey Zedek, itself a merger of Temple Emanu-el and Temple Beth David-Ner Israel). Series IV includes a small amount of personal materials relating to a community service award and cookbooks created by various women’s synagogue and other groups.


  • 1959-2012
  • Majority of material found within 1960-1967


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Terms of Access

The personal papers of Charlotte E. Gendler, 1959-2012 (bulk 1960-1967) are open for research. There are no restrictions regarding access or use of this collection.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Charlotte E. Gendler was born Charlotte Engel in Cleveland, Ohio on March 29, 1938 to parents Max and Ruth Engel. She attended the Florence Stone Mather College, Western Reserve in Ohio studying languages. After marrying Alan Gendler, the couple moved to Chicago where Charlotte Gendler worked a number of jobs as she raised a family. After a move to Gary, Indiana for a few years, the growing family moved to North Buffalo and then Kenmore. Charlotte graduated in 1970 from Buffalo State College with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She began working at the Niagara Frontier Vocational Rehabilitation Center, a sheltered workshop for people with special needs. She also joined several Jewish organizations, including synagogues, as well as the Shalom group of Hadassah, a Jewish women's organization. Later, she took a full-time position as controller at the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, working closely with the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Family Service, Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, Jewish Federation Housing, Camp Lakeland and the Jewish Federation Cemetery Corporation. In retirement, Charlotte Gendler has held numerous lay leadership positions including President of the Bureau of Jewish Education. She is active with the Jewish Federation board, Jewish Federation Housing, Temple Beth Tzedek and Kadimah among other organizations.

Historical Note

Temple Beth David was founded in the 1920s as a Conservative synagogue in Buffalo. Organized for the High Holidays of 1921, at Delta Temple Hall, located at East Utica and Fillmore Avenue, by 1923, fifty members were meeting at 652 Humboldt Parkway. By 1924, a Ladies’ Auxiliary, a Young Women’s Club and a Men's Club were organized and the congregation acquired land on the east side of Humboldt Parkway. The new building was dedicated on August 30, 1925, under the presidency of Joseph Sanes and the vice-presidency of Solomon Brown. Rabbi C. David Matt was elected in 1926 as the first permanent spiritual leader and installed on April 8-9, 1927 serving until 1929. Rabbi leaders changed frequently, and included Rabbi Judah Nadich, Rabbi Theodore Friedman, Rabbi Moses Lehrman and Rabbi Sidney B. Riback, among others. In 1955, Beth David merged with Congregation Ner Israel, and sold its building on Humboldt Parkway. It moved to Congregation Ner Israel’s building at Starin Avenue and Taunton in the North Park area, under the merged name of Temple Beth David-Ner Israel.

Congregation Ner Israel had a history that began in 1925 when a group of Hungarian-born Jews formed a synagogue originally known as Ohev Zedek. Eventually the congregation bought a two family house at 141 Crestwood and in 1930 the congregation changed its name to Anshe Zedek. The synagogue bought a former Masonic Temple in 1931, which had originally been built as a Methodist Church at 85 Saranac Avenue. In 1943, the congregation changed its name to Ner Israel. In 1952, Ner Israel sold their building to Yeshivath Achei T’mimim Lubavitz and built a new synagogue at Starin and Taunton Avenues. Soon after it merged with Temple Beth David in 1955.

The Council of Conservative Synagogues was founded in the 1950s with representatives of the four Conservative Temples in the Buffalo area that included Temple Beth David-Ner Israel, Temple Beth El, Temple Emanu-el and Temple Sinai. The goal of the Council was to raise the profile of Conservative Jewry in Buffalo and enable the temples to have a greater impact in the Buffalo Jewish community. The Council of Conservative Synagogues inaugurated a Thanksgiving Day Service also knows as a Union Service that eventually included participation by Ahavas Achim and Temple Beth Am, both temples outside of the Conservative movement. The Council also started a joint Institute for Adult Jewish Studies as a combined adult education program, held Cantorial Concerts and established a code of proper practice for funerals.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box)


Personal papers documenting aspects of Jewish community in Buffalo and Niagara Falls collected by Charlotte E. Gendler. Material includes minutes, newsletters, programs, photographs, and newspaper clippings relating to Temple Beth David-Ner Israel and other institutions.


This collection is arranged in four series as follows:

  1. Temple Beth David-Ner Israel, Buffalo, NY
  2. Council of Conservative Synagogues, Buffalo, NY
  3. Other Jewish Organizations
  4. Personal Materials

Acquisition Information

Charlotte Gendler donated Jewish community materials over several years from 2008 to 2014. The papers were arranged in February 2016 and it was deposited at the University Archives, Special Collections by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project in February 2016.

The Jewish Buffalo Archives Project was founded in late 2007 under the auspices of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Buffalo with a seed grant from the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies. The Archives Project collects mainly 20th century documentation relating to the diverse histories, religious traditions and cultures of Jewish communities within the Greater Buffalo area of Western New York, encompassing the geographic areas of Erie and Niagara Counties and partners with the University Archives at the University at Buffalo to make these records accessible.

The arrangement and description of the Charlotte E. Gendler Papers was made possible by funding obtained through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies.

Accruals and Additions

Accruals are not expected to this collection.

Related Materials

Processing Information

Collection processed by Chana Revell Kotzin in February 2016. The finding aid was finalized by Chana Revell Kotzin in March 2016. EAD was created by the University Archives staff in March 2016.


Finding Aid for the Charlotte E. Gendler Papers
Finding aid was finalized by Chana Revell Kotzin.
March 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)