About the Reher Center

For nearly a century, two generations of the Jewish immigrant Reher family ran a bakery from the storefront of 101 Broadway in Kingston, New York, and lived upstairs.  Kingston residents of the surrounding Rondout neighborhood, mostly working class and immigrant, came to Reher’s for bread, canned goods, and gossip.

Today, the site is a museum and cultural center that preserves and honors the legacy of Reher's Bakery and amplifies immigrant stories of the Hudson Valley, past and present. The Reher Center's mission is to foster belonging by engaging all people through culture, community, work, and bread.

Many thanks to Kevin Godbey and Veronica Fassbender for these films.

Brief History of the Reher Center

2002-2007: The idea for the Reher Center was hatched in 2002 when Geoffrey Miller peered into the window of 101 Broadway and observed a time capsule: the space was left untouched since Hymie Reher closed his family’s bakery in the early 1980s. Geoff describes it as “falling down a rabbit hole,” as he envisioned preserving and opening the site as a museum. Through a conversation with his friend Barbara Blas in 2004, Geoff learned that the Rehers and Blases were longtime members of Kingston’s Orthodox synagogue, Agudas Achim, and old family friends. Hymie was pleased with Geoff’s vision (Barbara remembers him singing “Happy Days are Here”) and arranged to deed the Reher’s property at 99-101 Broadway to the Jewish Federation of Ulster County.

The retail shop counter with aged bread pans, a metal scale, cookware, and an old Camel cigarette advertisement.
The bakery interior as it looked in 2007, soon after Geoff Miller initially saw it.
Members of the original Reher Center committee pose around the City of Kingston Designated Landmark plaque in 2007. Left to right: Geoffrey Miller, Howie Blas, Barbara Blas, Barbara Cohen, Susan Basch, Randy Myerson.

A core committee quickly formed to develop plans to preserve the buildings and expand on Geoff’s initial vision for the site as a museum and cultural center that would honor the Reher family’s legacy and the broader immigrant history of Rondout neighborhood. Its tagline became “Building community by celebrating multiculturalism and our immigrant past.”

2008-2016: Geoff led the all-volunteer Reher Center Committee to restore the storefront and raise $750,000 in funding to stabilize the property under the guidance of preservation architect Marilyn Kaplan. Read more about this extensive and ongoing work on our Building Preservation page.

A state-mandated archaeology study uncovered numerous household artifacts.
Performers inspire the audience to dance at the 2018 Kingston Multicultural Festival.

The Reher Center developed a range of off-site public programs to bring together many communities and celebrate the cultural diversity of the Hudson Valley. Rondout Revisited, an exhibit that documents the immigrant history of the Rondout neighborhood from the 1820s through the 1970s. Originally shown off-site, this exhibit is now on permanent display in our Gallery. Working with a variety of local organizations and partners, the Reher Center also spearheaded a series of popular programs including an annual Kingston Multicultural Festival, Deli Dinner and Immigrant Gifts to America series.

2016-2018: The Reher Center Committee expanded its Steering Committee and hired its first professional staff to leverage a range of new expertise and develop an interpretive plan for the site. In 2017, Sarah Litvin, Interpretive Planner, and Samantha Gomez-Ferrer, archivist, were hired to inventory, catalog, preserve, research, and digitize the Reher Center’s collection and expand it through conducting oral histories. They created several Digital Exhibits to make our collections accessible.

This “Sunday List,” an artifact left behind when Reher’s Bakery closed, inspired Sundays at the Bakery, a digital exhibit.
Reher Center Director Sarah Litvin leads a Preview Tour of historic Reher’s Bakery in July, 2018.

In 2018, thanks to a generous matching donation from the Norman I. Krug family and our committed funders, the Reher Center was able to hire our first Director, Sarah Litvin, to open the site for public programming during summer, 2018. From May to August, the Reher Center was abuzz of activity as we created a new window display featuring historic photos from our collection; created a gallery and mounted our first exhibit, “The Story Continues”; and shared the site and our vision for its future on Preview Tours of our historic bakery. Our July 7th Open House marked the first time the Reher Center was open for regular on-site programs.

Director Sarah Litvin shows off our new window display in 2018.
Chairman Geoff Miller at the Open House on July 7, 2018.

The Reher Center needs your help to “raise the dough” and help us rise.