Building Community & Culture: Jews in 20th Century Albuquerque

On Sunday, July 18, 2021, at 2 p.m., Harvey Buchalter presented his research on Jews in Albuquerque from the 1930’s to the 1960’s who have shaped Albuquerque’s culture, economic, and social life. He addressed why they chose to settle in Albuquerque, what risks they took, what innovations they made and what was their lasting impression on Albuquerque.

The program was jointly sponsored by the Historical Society of New Mexico Speakers Bureau and was live-streamed on the AHS Facebook page with a question and answer session following the presentation. It is also available on the AHS YouTube Channel.

Photo of Emil and Minnie's 50th Anniversary at old synagogue of Congregation B'nai Israel
Emil and Minnie’s 50th Anniversary at old synagogue of Congregation B’nai Israel in Albuquerque.

Photo of Harvey BuchalterFollowing college and service in the Peace Corps, Harvey Buchalter arrived in New Mexico to pursue graduate studies in history at UNM. Living in Los Lunas, he became acquainted with the history of Simon Neustadt, an early Valencia County merchant. This sparked his curiosity about the stories of prominent Jews which led, many years down the line, to his publishing articles on Lionel Specter of Zeon Sign; Charley Kahn of Kahn Cattle Company; Leba Freed of Freed Brothers; and Barbara Goldman of Simon’s Western Wear. They and their families resided in Albuquerque from approximately the 1930’s to the present.

Harvey’s 2014 Keynote address to the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, “Jewish Merchants in Albuquerque from the 1930’s to the 1960’s: Building Business and Community” paved the way to publishing “Albuquerque’s Congregation B’nai Israel: The First 90 Years,” which is the synagogue’s definitive history.

He is currently researching aspects of Jewish life in Silver City, NM, from 1870’s to 1960’s.

In addition to his research and writing, Harvey is a certified Yiddish/English translator and a professional sculptor in wood, stone, and metal.