Buffalo in the 90s: The changing face of Hertel as a temple becomes a church

By Steve Cichon

Today, Hertel Avenue has a hip, cosmopolitan vibe, with many blocks dotted with trendy bars and shops.

Twenty-five years ago, Hertel was in a state of flux, still transitioning from the center of Jewish culture in the Buffalo area.

For several generations before, interspersed along Hertel and surrounding streets were Jewish shuls, temples and synagogues, and storefronts that were home to Jewish bakeries, delis and other institutions catering to the needs of the Jewish community there.

By 1990, declines in attendance at services saw the merging of remaining congregations and the outright moving of several to Amherst. One sign of that was the building that was once Temple Brith Israel becoming Faith Good Shepherd Chapel 25 years ago this week.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.