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Arnold and Ruth Fernandez Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0210

Scope and Contents

Series I. primary contains Arnold Fernandez’s files of the Board of Trustees of Temple Beth Zion and its brotherhood’s administrative files including financial reports, meeting agenda and minutes, various committee reports, membership records, and documents regarding local concerns and the temple’s operation. Selected members’ professional information is stored in Man of the Year files and video recordings [Arnold Fernandez was often the interviewer] of Subseries G. Brotherhood’s Event and Program files, and Subseries H. Media of Series I. The award’s nomination and selection processes and invitation and program brochures are also housed in the files.

Temple Beth Zion’s Sisterhood files that Ruth Fernandez collected are housed in Series II. In the same manner of Arnold Fernandez’s, the Board of Trustees of the Temple and Sisterhood records are documented in the series. Subseries B. Sisterhood Operational Files contains planning documents of Judaica shop, including floor design map and correspondence, and a scrapbook between 1957-1962 that shows the records of social engagement during the period.


  • 1916-2011


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

Arnold and Ruth Fernandez Papers, 1916-2011 (bulk 1963-2004) are open for research. There are no restrictions regarding access to 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 the 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.

Historical Note

Temple Beth Zion was founded as an Orthodox congregation in 1850. During the 1860s, the temple was influenced by the Union for Reform Judaism American Hebrew Congregations, the national organization serving the Reform Jewish movement, which sought to create and sustain vibrant Jewish congregations and the original members merged the temple into this reform movement. By June 1885 the temple had officially changed its orientation to Reform.

Temple Beth Zion is the second-oldest synagogue of Buffalo and one of the oldest reform congregations in the United States. At earlier times in its history, the Temple Beth Zion has been located at Niagara Street Methodist Episcopal Church (between Pearl Street and Franklin Street until 1886), 599 Delaware Avenue (1890-1961), and 805 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo (current).

Brotherhood of Temple Beth Zion is one of the oldest brotherhoods in the country. It was formed as the Men’s Temple Club in 1915 and the first president was Eugene Warner. Later the name changed to the Men’s Club of Temple Beth Zion, and in 1970, when Paul Borins was president, the name changed again to the Brotherhood of Temple Beth Zion. A key purpose of the organization is cooperating with Temple Beth Zion in Jewish religious activities and supporting ushers for temple services, in order to foster cultural and educational advancement for the members. Any temple member over 18 years of age is eligible for Brotherhood membership. Annually, its installation service for incoming new officers and board members and Man of The Year award ceremony takes place in May.

Sisterhood of Temple Beth Zion was formed 1910 and the first president was Alene Arbesma. It remains open to women of all ages and interests and operates through monthly board and general meetings. Sisterhood helps to operate temple services, running programs and events including its nursery and religious schools, gift shop, and fund-raising activities. Sisterhood members connect spiritually, culturally, and intellectually through their membership experience. Being a member of Sisterhood, the member is not only supporting her own congregation, but also becomes a member of National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods.

There were more than 42 committees in the Sisterhood from 1960 to 1980. During 1977, Sisterhood reached the peak of its membership, as more than 500 members registered and became involved with various community action and advocacy programs to help handicapped people and minority groups.


6.8 Linear Feet (15 manuscript boxes)


Arnold and Ruth Fernandez papers, document Temple Beth Zion’s Brotherhood’s and Sisterhood’s administrative and its members’ synagogue activities.


This collection is arranged in two series as follows:

  1. Arnold Fernandez Files
  2. Ruth Fernandez Files

Acquisition Information

Arnold and Ruth Fernandez donated Jewish community materials in 2008. The records were arranged from April to May 2016 and were deposited at the University Archives, Special Collections, by the Jewish Buffalo Archives Project in May 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 Arnold and Ruth Fernandez Papers were made possible by funding obtained through the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies.

Accruals and Additions

Initial acquisition made in 2008 by Arnold Fernandez and a further acquisition in 2015 by daughter, Susan Bruckheimer. Further accruals are not expected to the collection in the future.

Related Resources

Processing Information

Records were processed by Kuniko Simon in April-May 2016. EAD finding aid created by Archives Staff, August 2016.


Finding Aid for Arnold and Ruth Fernandez Papers
Finding aid prepared by Kuniko Simon.
May 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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)