Guide to the Shaare Torah Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pa. Records, 1936-1996 AIS.1998.22

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Shaare Torah Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pa. Records
Creator
Shaare Torah Congregation (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
Collection Number
AIS.1998.22
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1940-1993
Date [inclusive]
1936-1996
Extent
12.5 linear feet (16 boxes)
Abstract
The Shaare Torah Congregation was founded in 1880 by Orthodox Jewish immigrants to Pittsburgh. The first permanent synagogue for the congregation was built in 1909, and longtime Rabbi Bernard A. Poupko was installed in 1943. This collection contains records of Shaare Torah from Rabbi Poupko's tenure and slightly before, including records of membership, programs hosted by the congregation, and cemetery records.

Preferred Citation

Shaare Torah Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pa. Records, 1936-1996, AIS.1998.22, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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History

The Shaare Torah Congregation was founded in 1880 by Orthodox Jewish immigrants to Pittsburgh during the city's industrial expansion. Most of the founders came from eastern Europe. Several buildings were used as meeting places through the first years of the congregation until the first permanent synagogue was built in 1909.

Rabbi Moshe Simon Sivitz served the congregation from 1881 until his death in 1936. After this loss visiting Rabbis occupied the pulpit until January 10, 1943, when Rabbi Bernard A. Poupko was installed. On April 20, 1947, ground was broken for the congregation's current building at the intersection of Murray and Nicholson Avenues in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Since its founding, Shaare Torah Congregation has been an active center for worship, learning, and culture. It has undertaken many philanthropic efforts in the local Jewish community, such as establishing an annual scholarship to Yeshiva University and Hillel Academy and contributing to other Jewish institutions of higher learning in the United States and Israel. Shaare Torah is a member of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

More information about Shaare Torah's current activity can be found on their Web site: http://www.shaaretorah.net/index.php.

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Scope and Content Notes

This collection contains records of Shaare Torah from 1936-1993, including records of membership, programs hosted by the congregation, and burials of deceased members. The records are divided into seven series:

  • Series I. Correspondence, 1965-1970
  • Series II. Membership
  • Series III. Programs and Publications
  • Series IV. Minutes and By-laws, 1949-1957
  • Series V. Cemetery Records
  • Series VI. Record Books
  • Series VII. Scrapbooks, 1940-1993
Additional scope notes are found at the series level. A commemorative book published in 1955 and offering more details of the congregation's history can be found in Series III.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, April 2006

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Shaare Torah Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1998.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Fiona Seels in 1998 and by Charles Stanford in April 2006.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Charles Stanford in April 2006. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 4642651

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Hillel Academy (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Shaare Torah Congregation (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Yeshiva University.

Personal Name(s)

  • Poupko, Bernard A.
  • Sivitz, M. S.

Subject(s)

  • Churches and Synagogues
  • Ethnic groups
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- History
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- Social conditions
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- Social life and customs
  • Orthodox Judaism -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Rabbis -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Synagogues -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

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Previous Citation

Shaare Torah Congregation, Pittsburgh, Pa. Records, 1936-1996, AIS.1998.22, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Correspondence, 1965-1970 

Scope and Content Notes

This series predominantly consists of letters from the executive secretary to members of the congregation. There are also letters between Shaare Torah personnel and other agencies. Most letters to individual congregation members deal with matters such as condolences for deaths, donations, and tuition for the Hebrew school.

  BoxFolder
 1965-1971 11-17
  Folder
Letters to Entire Congregation 18
  Folder
Donations, 1967-1972 19
  Folder
Miscellaneous 20

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Series  II. Membership Records 

Scope and Content Notes

Men's membership records contain the names of the men who belonged to the congregation, their addresses, and their dues owed and paid per year. The cards in Box 3 are organized in alphabetical order. They contain the names and addresses of both male and female members of the congregation.

  BoxFolder
Men's Membership, A-Z 21-19
  Box
Membership Cards, A-K 3

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Series  III. Programs and Publications 

Scope and Content Notes

Besides regular worship and holiday observances, Shaare Torah has hosted a Hebrew school, ongoing educational programs, an annual banquet, and other social events. This series contains programs of the annual banquets; graduation exercises and other school ceremonies; and fundraising events such as the annual donor luncheon of the Shaare Torah Sisterhood, which celebrated each years's fundraising campaign undertaken by the women of Shaare Torah. The series also contains annual reports of receipts, various writings of Rabbi Poupko and isolated issues of a few periodicals.

  BoxFolder
Annual Banquets, Programs, 1955-1993 41-8
  Folder
Kollel Bais Yitchok 9
  Folder
Shaare Torah Religious School - Graduation Exercises, 1951-1966 10
  Folder
Shaare Torah Hebrew School - Bas Mitzvah Ceremonies, 1964-1977 11
  Folder
Yeshiva Achei Tmimim, 1977, 1980 12
  Folder
Poale Zedck Congregation, 1978 13
  Folder
Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh 14
  Folder
American Zionist Fund Dinners 15
  Folder
Shaare Torah Sisterhood Donor Luncheons, 1959-1981 16-17
  Folder
Other Miscellaneous Events 18
  Folder
Schedule of Upcoming Events, 1972-1988 19
  Folder
Shaare Torah Adult Institute - Schedule of Lectures and Reviews by Dr. Poupko, 1969-1977 20
  Folder
Photographs 21
  Folder
Hillel Campaign Solicitation Prospects 22
  Folder
Moat Chitim Fund Roster, 1971 23
  Folder
Tickets to Holiday Services, 1959, 1969, 1973, 1976-1977 24
  Folder
Writings of Rabbi Poupko, 1964, 1966 25-26
  Folder
Miscellaneous Publications 27
  Folder
American Jewish Outlook, Aug 26 and Nov 25, 1955 28
  Folder
The Jewish Criterion - Shaare Torah 75th Anniversary Issue, Dec 2, 1955 29
  Folder
Annual Reports: Receipts, 1967-1972 30-34
  Folder
Anniversary Journal - Memorial Receipts 35
  Folder
The 613 Commandments 36
  Folder
Seating for a Banquet, c1961 37
  Folder
Pages from a boy's Hebrew school notebook 38
  Folder
Lists (Membership, Committees, etc.) 39
  Folder
Men's Club 40
  Folder
Miscellaneous 41-45
  Box
Memorabilia 5 (Oversize)

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Series  IV. Minutes and By-laws, 1949-1957 

Scope and Content Notes

Most of the minutes in this series are from the board of directors meetings, which occur approximately once a month, but some are from general membership or special meetings. All minutes are written in English except for a bound volume covering most of 1949, which is written in Yiddish. Bound preservation copies will be used by researchers for the minutes kept from late 1949 to 1954. Bound volumes and unbound pages of minutes are housed in oversized flat boxes.

  BoxFolder
Minutes of Board of Directors/Committee Meetings, 1956-1957 6 (Oversize)1
  Folder
By-laws/Charter of Congregation 2
  Volume
Minutes, 1954-1957 1
  Folder
Minutes, 1949-1954 3
  Volume
Minutes, (Bound Preservation Copies) 1949-1954 2
  Volume
Minutes, 1949 3

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Series  V. Cemetery Records 

Scope and Content Notes

Shaare Torah maintains a cemetery at 861 Stewart Ave. near Overbrook in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh. Records in this series consist of correspondence, reports, and receipts regarding the establishment and maintenance of burial plots and monuments; and two bound volumes listing the locations of burial plots.

  BoxFolder
Correspondence, 1965-1970 71-11
  Folder
Correspondence, undated 12
  Folder
Cemetery Records, B-Z, 1948-1957 13-20
  Folder
Cemetery Records, Miscellaneous, c1950-1954 21
  Folder
Maintenance, 1963-1964 22
  Box
Cemetery Maintenance Receipts, 1973-1976 8
  BoxVolume
Cemetery Book: A-T, Upper and Lower Sections, undated 91
  Volume
Cemetery Book: T-Z, AA-ZZ and AAA, undated 2

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Series  VI. Record Books 

Scope and Content Notes

Bound record books include records of seating and cash transactions. Several of them are written in Yiddish, and not all of their contents have been identified. A more detailed inventory of these books is available in a folder in Box 10.

  Box
Record Books 10 (Oversize)
  Box
Record Books 11
  Box
Record Books 12 (Oversize)

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Series  VII. Scrapbooks, 1940-1993 

Scope and Content Notes

Eight scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings about the congregation and its activities from 1952 to 1996 are housed in flat boxes.

  BoxVolume
 1952-1957 13 (Oversize)1-2
  BoxVolume
 1958-1959 14 (Oversize)3-4
  BoxVolume
 1959-1987 15 (Oversize)5-6
  BoxVolume
 1987-1996 16 (Oversize)7-8

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