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Ernst Pribram

Ernst Pribram (1879-1940), serologist, born in Prague, Czech Republic (then part of the Austrian Empire). In 1911 he established himself in Vienna as specialist for general and experimental pathology, became assistant professor at the University of Vienna in 1915, and was appointed associate professor at the University of Chicago, Rush Medical College, in 1925. From 1928 he was professor of bacteriology and preventive medicine at Loyola University, Chicago. Pribram occupied himself with studies of bacteriology, serology, colloid chemistry, pharmacology, physiology and pathology. He died in Chicago.

His numerous published works include: Darstellung der Antikcoerper mittels chemischer und physikalischer Methoden (together with M.V. Eisler); “Haamotoxine und Antihaamotoxine der Bakterien” (in Handbuch der pathologischen Mikroorganismen, 1913); Anlegung und Pflege einer Kulturensammlung," ibid., 1930); ”Die wichtigsten Methoden beim Arbeiten mit Bacterien" (in Handbuch der biologischen Arbeitmethoden, 1925); Culture Media for Bacteria und Fungi (1925); Classification of Bacteria (1933).

Date of birth:
1879
Date of death:
1940
Personality type:
רופא
ID Number:
18871892
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Chicago

City in Northeastern Illinois, USA.

Early History

Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 and had at the time a population of some 5,000 inhabitants. Between 1840 and 1844 about twenty Jews settled in the city, most of them immigrants from the German regions of Bavaria and the Palatinate. On October 3, 1846, fifteen Jews founded the first Jewish congregation in the city, Kehilat Anshe Maarav (The Congregation of the People of the West), subsequently referred as K.A.M. They practiced the traditional Minhag Ashkenaz and worshiped in a room above a clothing store. By the middle of the century, ten additional community organizations came into being, which operated until WW2. In 1861 the Reform congregation Sinai was founded. At this time Russian and Lithuanian immigrants from Eastern Europe began to arrive in the city. They spoke Yiddish and peddling was their chief occupation. As early as the autumn of 1862 the Eastern European Jews organized congregation B’nai Jacob, and a year later, Beth Hamedrash Hagodol . In 1867 both congregations merged under the name Beth Hamedrash Ub’nai Jacob .

When the American Civil War hostilities began, the Jewish community in Chicago had increased to the extent that it was able to recruit a complete company of a hundred Jewish volunteers to join the 82nd Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. The Jewish community of Chicago quickly recovered from the great fire of 1871, which affected the neighborhood of the German Jews, and from the fire of 1874, which affected mostly East European Jews. The neighborhood of the Russian and Polish Jews received the cognomen “The Ghetto” and that of the German Jews “The Golden Ghetto”.
In the 1860s German Jews began to enter the medical and legal professions, some also went into banking, even founding Jewish banking houses. The new Russian immigrants of the 1880s preferred factory work and small business. The greatest number of them, 4,000 by 1900, entered the tobacco industry, primarily the cigar trade. The growth of sweat shops in the needle trade in the 1880s with their unsanitary conditions and excessive hours were the determining factors in the development of the Jewish Socialist movement and the Jewish trade-union movement. The Chicago cloak-makers union, predominantly Jewish, was the first to protest against child labor, which persisted despite compulsory education. They succeeded only in establishing a 14-year old age limit and limiting any sweatshop to the members of one family. It was the strike in 1911 that established collective bargaining in the clothing industry. It laid the foundations for a new and lasting union, the amalgamated clothing workers of America. An alternative to sweat shops and peddling was provided for a few by the Jewish Agriculturists Aid Society of America , founded in Chicago in 1888. From the 1880s to the 1920s the Jewish Population Grew from 10,000 to 225,000, or from 2% to 8% of the general population.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, Jews relocated their residences to the northern part of the city and in the suburbs to its north. In 1969 West Rogers Park and suburban Skokie were the largest Jewish communities, each with a Jewish population of 50,000, constituting about 70% of the total population of the area. To a considerable extent the development of these new communities with religious, educational, cultural, and social service facilities was the result of a conscious effort to perpetuate Jewish group cohesion. Community leaders held the opinion that a modicum of Jewish education and voluntary segregation in a high-status residential area would forestall assimilation.


The Community in the 1960s

In 1961 Chicago had 43 Orthodox synagogues, 25 Conservative, 16 Reform, and five traditional. The Chicago Board of Rabbis , supported by the Jewish Federation and Jewish Welfare Fund, sponsored all programs of Jewish content on radio and television, and the Chaplaincy Committee , which served hospital and penal institutions. During the 1960s there were also three mikvaot , two Battei-Din (Rabbinical courts) – one Orthodox and one Conservative. The Battei-Din were concerned primarily with issuing religious divorces (gittin) and conversions. In 1969 it was estimated that about 15% of the Chicago Jewish Community was foreign-born and about 5% still used Yiddish as their vernacular. About 3% to 5% were strict Shabbath observers, but synagogue affiliation was less than 50% in the city and about 60% in the suburbs.

In 1968 the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Welfare Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, including the United Jewish Appeal, united as the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. In addition to national and overseas aid, the Jewish United Fund served many communal Institutions, such as the Family Community Service, child development and day-care centers, and medical centers. There have been two Jewish hospitals dedicated in 1881, and Mount Sinai, founded in 1918 as a successor to Maimonides hospital, which had been incorporated in 1910.
Many Jews have occupied high government positions, both locally and nationally, among them Arthur Goldberg, former Justice of the United States and ambassador to the United Nations. The social and cultural integration of Chicago Jews into the life of the city is best illustrated by the fact that the presidents of three institutions of higher learning in 1970 were Jewish.

Cultural life

A bibliography of Hebrew and Yiddish publications published in Chicago between 1877 and 1950 shows 492 titles. The Yiddish press in Chicago was most prolific. The Hebrew press in Chicago was not as successful as the Yiddish press. It made its debut in 1877 with the weekly Heikhal Ha-Ivriyyah, which was a supplement to the Israelitishe Press and was published until 1879. Keren Or, a monthly followed in 1889. In 1897 the weekly Ha-Pisgah made its appearance, and was replaced in 1899 by the Ha-Techiyyah. The first Jewish periodical to appear in Chicago was the weekly Occident in 1873, which continued publication until 1895. In 1969 there was one Anglo-Jewish weekly, The Sentinel , founded in 1911, A Chicago edition of The Jewish Post and Opinion, The Chicago Forum, a quarterly, founded in 1942, and The Jewish Way, appearing before every major Jewish holiday, founded in 1948.

Jewish Population in Greater Chicago Area

In 1999 the Jewish population of Greater Chicago Area (all of Cook and DuPage counties and a portion of Lake County) was estimated at 261,000 inhabitants being the forth largest Jewish center in the USA. There are numerous agencies, organizations, institutions taking care of every aspect of Jewish life, from family and community support and senior assistance through religious needs, health care, cultural activities, and education, up to volunteer work and charity. The community is deeply involved in the life of the American Jewry and indeed its impact is felt far beyond all over the Jewish world, including Israel.
Some 30,000 Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union choose to settle in Metropolitan Chicago during the last 25 years. Many received the assistance of the Jewish Federation at the start of their new life in the USA.

Education

Strengthening the Jewish identity, assuring its continuity while preserving its rich heritage is one of the main concerns of the Jewish Federation. The Jewish Federation’s total allocations on education amounted to more than 20% of the total thus emphasizing its important role in maintaining Jewish life during the coming generations.
Jewish education in Greater Chicago area is advanced by a large number of schools and non formal educational institutions providing various courses and programs for children of all ages as well for youngsters and families. They all have in common a desire to promote Jewish values and heritage, to stimulate new Jewish creativity and to help preserve a distinct Jewish identity while preparing the younger generations towards the challenges posed by a constantly changing society.
The various educational options are provided by many Hebrew, Sunday and day schools, and also numerous informal institutions for adults and families encompassing programs as diverse as day care programs, higher education, and camps and summer schools.
Chicago is the home of the Hebrew Theological College , Yeshiva High School and Teachers Institute, The College of Jewish Studies , a branch of the Telz yeshivah, The Chicago Jewish Academy.
Primary day schools include the Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, the Kinderland/Hebrew Academy , the Sephardic Hebrew Day School, and Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School, and of the secondary day schools a mention should be made of Ida Crown Jewish Academy and Bais Yaakov High School of Chicago, among others. Sachs-Skora Community Hebrew School, Consolidated Traditional Hebrew School are only two of the many primary Hebrew Sunday schools that function in the Greater Chicago area.
Family education is promoted by a number of institutions, among them the various Jewish community Centers of Chicago, the Marvin N. Stone Centre for Jewish Arts & Letters , the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies – a liberal arts college. Spertus also houses the Zell Holocaust Memorial whose resources help children and adults to better comprehend the Holocaust.

Jewish Periodicals

The Jewish periodicals published in Chicago include the weekly Chicago Jewish News, with an online edition, the fortnightly Chicago Jewish Star distributed free of charge - both based in Skokie, the quarterly Jewish Community News that started publication in 1941, and the annual JUF News & Guide to Jewish Living in Chicago published jointly by the Jewish United Fund and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Jewish Image is a monthly family magazine based in Chicago and is distributed free of charge all over United States. Kosher Consumer is published by the Chicago Rabbinical Council six times a year and contains information on kosher products.

Radio, TV and e-media

Jerusalem Online – WCFC-TV 38, is a half-hour magazine broadcast from Jerusalem on Fridays at 20:00 and rebroadcast on Sundays at 13:00. Sanctuary - WLS-TV7, is a talk-show focused on Jewish issues and produced by the Jewish Television Commission – a joint venture of the Jewish Federation and of the Chicago Board of Rabbis.
The Torah Radio Network broadcasts an array of programs on Jewish issues.
Israel News by Phone – 847-679-9374, offers daily updates Sunday through Friday, in English, from the Israeli Arutz-7 radio station.
The Moshe and Esther Brandman Memorial Tape Library makes possible to listen to edifying and informative lectures by Torah scholars.

Religious life

The religious needs of the Jews living in the Greater Chicago are served by numerous of institutions, organizations, and synagogues belonging to all Jewish movements. All other aspects of Jewish life, like kosher food, mikveh , Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, to list only a few are provided by the various congregations and by the Jewish Federation. Jewish Burial Society and Chicago Jewish Funerals provide Jewish funerals, among others.
Religious life is coordinated by the Chicago Rabbinical Council which takes care of the different aspects and necessities of Orthodox Judaism and by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations UAHC – Chicago for the Reform Judaism. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is overseeing the activities of the Conservative congregations setting guidelines for their social, educative, and religious programs.

Synagogues

Of the Conservative synagogues a special mention should be made of the veteran Anshe Emet Synagogue located in the Lakeview neighborhood and which represents a landmark in the Jewish history of Chicago. Other Conservative congregations include Temple Har Zion in River Forest, Congregation Am Chai in Hoffman Estates, Congegation Rodfei Zedek , and B’nai Emunah in Skokie. Temple Menorah, Emanuel Congregation, and Congregation Or Chadash in Chicago belong to the Reform movement as well as Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Glenview, and Congregation B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom in Homewood, to name only a few of the more than 20 Reform temples located in Metropolitan Chicago.
Among the Orthodox synagogues Congregation Adas Yeshuron Anshe Kanesses Israel and Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel are located in Chicago and Congregation Or Torah is situated in Skokie.
Skokie has also a Reconstructionist congregation – Ezra Habonim Niles Township Jewish Congregation , additional Reconstructionist congregations are located in Evanston – Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation , in Naperville – Congregation Beth Shalom, and in Northbrook – Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Synagogue.

Ties with Israel

Within the framework of the Partnership 2000 project that strives to establish and develop close relationships between Jewish communities in the Diaspora and Israeli towns and villages, the Jewish Federation and the Jewish United Fund in Chicago are connected with the Lachish area in the Negev region of Israel providing its inhabitants with assistance in development as well as with an informal opportunity to foster direct contacts between the two communities.
General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities
During November 10-15, 2000, the Jewish Federation of Chicago hosted the annual General Assembly (GA) of the United Jewish Communities with some 5,000 delegates expected to gather from US, Canada, South America, Israel and Europe.

Early 21st century

The city of Chicago is home to the fifth largest Jewish population in the United States. According to a 2010 study published by the Berman Jewish Databank, approximately 291,000 Jews live in the Chicago metropolitan area. By 2013, the Jewish community comprised nearly 10% of the city’s total population (2.7 million).

Located across Chicago are a number of organizations which serve the city’s Jewish community. Many of these were established during the mid 20th century, but as the Jewish community continued to change with each passing generation, the need for specialized programs led to the development of several foundations and support groups. Serving the more than 145,000 Jewish households living in Chicago are organizations such as The United Hebrew Relief Association (UHRA), EZRA, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Chicago, Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps, and the Jewish Family & Community Service Virginia Frank Child Development Center. The JUF Café provides the community’s poor with kosher meals and ARK, a non-profit community-funded agency, offers many social services including housing, food, medical care, and employment assistance. There are also those which focus on Holocaust victims such as the Holocaust Community Services, the Association of Descendants of the Shoah-Illinois (ADSI), and the Holocaust Education Foundation. Often working in tandem with various organizations are the city’s several Jewish councils. These include The Council for Jewish Elderly, West Rogers Park Jewish Community Council, and the Midwest Jewish Council.

Founded in 1977, The Chicago Jewish Historical Society preserves the history of Chicago’s Jewish community. The society collects and maintains a variety of written, spoken and photographic records. They sponsor lectures, events and tours of the city’s Jewish historical sites. Some of Chicago’s famous Jewish landmarks include the Kehilat Anshe Maarav at the Isaiah Israel Congregation in Hyde Park, the site of the old Maxwell Street Market located in one of Chicago’s oldest residential neighborhoods, the headquarters of the Jewish United Fund on Ben Gurion Way on S. Franklin, the Chicago Loop Synagogue, and the historic neighborhood of Lawndale.

About twenty six percent of Chicago’s Jews identify as orthodox or traditional. Thirty five percent identify as conservative while another thirty percent or more identify as reform. By 2004, there was an estimated 140 synagogues in the Chicago metropolitan area. Nearly every movement within modern Judaism is represented. There are 39 orthodox, 31 conservative, 36 reform, 14 traditional, 3 reconstructionist, 1 humanist, and about 7 non-denominational congregations. There are also 4 mikva'ot and 2 rabbinical courts.

The Jewish community of Chicago hosts a variety of educational programs and institutions. Many of these are supported by the Jewish Federation with different allocations and grants. Jewish education in Chicago spans from day care to the college level. Eighty percent of Chicago's Jewish children receive Jewish education. In addition to several day schools and yeshivot are institutions such as the Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Associated Talmud Torahs, Anne Blitstein Teachers Institute of Women, and the Board of Jewish Education. Courses of higher learning are offered at The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, the Rorh Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) and the Hebrew Theological College.

Other sources of Jewish education can be found within the city's museums, centers and memorials, particularly, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Educational Center, the Chicago Jewish Historical Society, the Chicago Hebrew Institute and the Kohl Children's Museum.

For students and young professionals are a number of Jewish clubs and associations. Some are committed to community outreach while others bring people together. Avodah, the Jewish service corps, advocates for poverty while Club 1948 works to connect Israelis with Jewish Americans. There is also a variety of programs for Jewish singles and young Jewish professionals as well as multiple Jewish Community Centers, B'nai Brith and Kum Kibbutz.

Throughout the city of Chicago are several Jewish enclaves. The largest is West Rogers Park. Also known as the Golden Ghetto, since 1930, Rogers Park has had a significant Jewish population and the largest Hasidic community in the Midwest. During the 1960s, it became home to a thriving community of Russian Jews. This neighborhood has more than 20 congregations and a number of kosher butchers, bakeries, restaurants, markets and grocery stores. Another notable community was located in North Lawndale. For much of the first half of the 20th century, this historic neighborhood was home to one of Chicago’s most vibrant Jewish communities. Remembered simply as Jewish Lawndale, it was the core of Chicago’s Jewish West Side. Following World War II, much of the Jewish population relocated into suburban areas. By 1995, there were more than 150,000 Jews living in the suburbs of Chicago. Jewish neighborhoods are located throughout the Northern, Western and Southern districts. Large populations can be found in Petersen Park, Hollywood Park and Hyde Park-Kenwood, which is home to the oldest congregations in Chicago.

Providing medical need to Jewish children and families are many healthcare facilities including hospitals and support centers. Many of these, like the Michael Reese Hospital, were established by the city's oldest Jewish communities. Mount Sinai is one of the city's best hospitals and is heavily supported by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. The JCFS (Jewish Children & Family Services) offers a variety of services for families with special needs. They additionally provide programs for education, employment and counseling. The Chai Lifeline offers free year-round support to children and families.

Other facilities include the Jewish Healing Network of Chicago, the Jewish AIDS Network and the Center for Jewish Genetics. Medical centers such as these are largely supported by community-based organizations and private donors. Philanthropy has continued to be a major part of the Jewish Federation following their merge with the Jewish Welfare Fund in 1974. Several of Chicago's Jewish organizations and programs receive funding from the Federation every year.

In a city as large as Chicago and with one of the largest Jewish communities in the United States, there is no shortage of Jewish media. Across all channels, from television and radio to newspapers and online magazines, are several sources of Jewish news and entertainment. Circulating throughout Chicago is the Chicago Jewish Star, a twice-monthly newspaper. There is also Schmooze Magazine, a student-run Jewish publication. Online periodicals include Chicago Jewish News, Oy! Chicago, Kveller and JUF News.

Vienna

In German: Wien. Capital of Austria

Early History

Documentary evidence points to the first settlement of Jews in the 12th century. A charter of privileges was granted by Emperor Frederick II in 1238, giving the Jewish community extensive autonomy. At the close of the 13th and during the 14th centuries, the community of Vienna was recognized as the leading community of German Jewry. In the second half of the 13th century there were about 1,000 Jews in the community.
The influence of the "Sages of Vienna" spread far beyond the limits of the city itself and continued for many generations. Of primary importance were Isaac B. Moses "Or Zaru'a", his son Chayyim "Or Zaru'a", Avigdor B. Elijah Ha- Kohen, and Meir B. Baruch Ha- Levi. At the time of the Black Death persecutions of 1348-49, the community of Vienna was spared and even served as a refuge for Jews from other places.

Toward the end of the 14th century there was a growing anti-Jewish feeling among the burghers; in 1406, during the course of a fire that broke out in the synagogue, in which it was destroyed, the burghers seized the opportunity to attack Jewish homes. Many of the community's members died as martyrs in the persecutions of 1421, others were expelled, and the children forcibly converted. After the persecutions nevertheless some Jews remained there illegally. In 1512, there were 12 Jewish families in Vienna, and a small number of Jews continued to live there during the 16th century, often faced with threats of expulsion. During the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), Jews suffered as a result of the occupation of the city by Imperial soldiers. In 1624, Emperor Ferdinand II confined the Jews to a ghetto. Some Jews at this time engaged in international trade; others were petty traders. Among the prominent rabbis of the renewed community was Yom Tov Lipman Heller, and Shabbetai Sheftel Horowitz,
one of the many refugees from Poland who fled the Chmielnicki who led anti-Jewish massacres of 1648.

Hatred of the Jews by the townsmen increased during the mid 17th century. The poorer Jews were expelled in 1669; the rest were exiled during the Hebrew month of Av (summer) of the year 1670, and their properties taken from them. The Great Synagogue was converted into a Catholic church. Some of the Jews took advantage of the offer to convert to Christianity so as not to be exiled.

By 1693, the financial losses to the city were sufficient to generate support for a proposal to readmit the Jews. Only the wealthy were authorized to reside in Vienna, as "tolerated subjects", in exchange for very high taxes. Prayer services were permitted to be held only in a private house.

The founders of the community and its leaders in those years, as well as during the 18th century, were prominent Court Jews, such as Samuel Oppenheimer, Samson Wertheimer, and Baron Diego Aguilar. As a result of their activities, Vienna became a center for Jewish diplomatic efforts on behalf of Jews throughout the Habsburg Empire as well as an important center for Jewish philanthropy. A Sephardi community in Vienna traces its origins to 1737, and grew as a result of commerce with the Balkans.

The Jews suffered under the restrictive legislation of Empress Maria Theresia (1740- 80). In 1781, her son, Joseph II, issued his "Toleranzpatent", which, though attacked in Jewish circles, paved the way in some respects for later Emancipation.

By 1793, there was a Hebrew printing press in Vienna that soon became the center for Hebrew printing in Central Europe. During this period, the first signs of assimilation in social and family life of the Jews of Vienna made their appearance. At the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Viennese salon culture was promoted by Jewish wealthy women, whose salons served as entertainment and meeting places for the rulers of Europe.

The Jewish Community and the Haskalah Movement

From the close of the 18th century, and especially during the first decades of the 19th century, Vienna became a center of the Haskalah movement.

Despite restrictions, the number of Jews in the city rapidly increased. At a later period the call for religious reform was heard in Vienna. Various maskilim, including Peter Peretz Ber and Naphtali Hertz Homberg, tried to convince the government to impose Haskalah recommendations and religious reform on the Jews. This aroused strong controversy among the Viennese Community.

Jewish Immigration

During the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century, the Jewish population of Vienna increased as a result of immigration there by Jews from other regions of the Empire, particularly Hungary, Galicia, and Bukovina. The influence and scope of the community's activities increased particularly after the annexation of Galicia by Austria. By 1923, Vienna had become the third largest Jewish community in Europe. Many Jews entered the liberal professions.

Community Life

In 1826, a magnificent synagogue, in which the Hebrew language and the traditional text of the prayers were retained, was inaugurated. It was the first legal synagogue to be opened since 1671. Before the Holocaust, there were about 59 synagogues of various religious trends in Vienna. There was also a Jewish educational network. The rabbinical Seminary, founded in 1893, was a European center for research into Jewish literature and history. The most prominent scholars were M.Guedeman, A. Jellinek, Adolph Schwarz, Adolf Buechler, David Mueller, Victor Aptowitzer, Z.H. Chajes, and Samuel Krauss. There was also a "Hebrew Pedagogium" for the training of Hebrew teachers.

Vienna also became a Jewish sports center; the football team Hakoach and the Maccabi organization of Vienna were well known. Many Jews were actors, producers, musicians and writers, scientists, researchers and thinkers.

Some Prominent Viennese Jews: Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951), musician, composer; Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911), musician, composer; Franz Werfel (1890 - 1945), author; Stefan Zweig (1881 - 1942), author; Karl Kraus (1874 - 1936), satirist, poet; Otto Bauer (1881 - 1938), socialist leader; Alfred Adler (1870 - 1937), psychiatrist; Arthur Schnitzler (1862 - 1931), playwright, author; Isaac Noach Mannheimer (1793 - 1865), Reform preacher; Joseph Popper (1838 -1921), social philosopher, engineer; Max Adler (1873 - 1937), socialist theoretician; Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939), psychiatrist, creator of Psychoanalysis; Adolf Fischhoff (1816 - 1893), politician.

The Zionist Movement

Though in the social life and the administration of the community, there was mostly strong opposition to Jewish National action, Vienna was also a center of the national awakening. Peretz Smolenskin published Ha-Shachar between 1868 and 1885 in Vienna, while Nathan Birnbaum founded the first Jewish Nationalist Student Association, Kadimah, there in 1882, and preached "Pre-Herzl Zionism" from 1884. The leading newspaper, Neue Freie Presse, to which Theodor Herzl contributed, was owned in part by Jews.
It was due to Herzl that Vienna was at first the center of Zionist activities. He published the Zionist Movement's Organ, Die Welt, and established the headquarters of the Zionist Executive there.

The Zionist Movement in Vienna gained in strength after World War I. In 1919, the Zionist Robert Stricker was elected to the Austrian Parliament. The Zionists did not obtain a majority in the community until the elections of 1932.

The Holocaust Period

Nazi Germany occupied Vienna in March 1938. In less than one year the Nazis introduced all the discriminatory laws, backed by ruthless terror and by mass arrests (usually of economic leaders and Intellectuals, who were detained in special camps or sent to Dachau). These measures were accompanied by unspeakable atrocities. Vienna's Chief Rabbi, Dr. Israel Taglicht, who was more than 75 years old, was among those who were forced to clean with their bare hands the pavements of main streets. During Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938), 42 synagogues were destroyed, hundreds of flats were plundered by the S.A. and the Hitler Youth.

The first transports of deported Jews were sent to the notorious Nisko concentration camp, in the Lublin District (October 1939). The last mass transport left in September 1942; it included many prominent people and Jewish dignitaries, who were sent to Theresienstadt, from where later they were mostly deported to Auschwitz. In November 1942, the Jewish community of Vienna was officially dissolved. About 800 Viennese Jews survived by remaining underground.

Last 50 Years

In the last 50 years, Vienna has become the main transient stopping-place and the first refuge for hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees and emigrants from Eastern Europe after World War II.

The only synagogue to survive the Shoah is the Stadttempel (built 1826), where the community offices and the Chief Rabbinate are located. A number of synagogues and prayer rooms catering to various chassidic groups and other congregations are functioning on a regular basis in Vienna. One kosher supermarket, as well as a kosher butcher shop and bakery serve the community

The only Jewish school run by the community is the Zwi Perez Chajes School, which reopened in 1980 after a hiatus of 50 years, and includes a kindergarden, elementary and high school. About 400 additional pupils receive Jewish religious instruction in general schools and two additional Talmud Torah schools. The ultra-orthodox stream of the community, which has been growing significantly since the 1980's, maintain their separate school system.
Though the Zionists constitute a minority, there are intensive and diversified Zionist activities. A number of journals and papers are published by the community, such as Die Gemeinde, the official organ of the Community, and the Illustrierte Neue Welt. The Austrian Jewish Students Union publishes the Noodnik.

The Documentation Center, established and directed by Simon Wiesenthal and supported by the community, developed into the important Institute for the documentation of the Holocaust and the tracing of Nazi Criminals.

In 1993, the Jewish Museum in Vienna opened its doors and became a central cultural institution of the community, offering a varied program of cultural and educational activities and attracting a large public of Jewish and non-Jewish visitors. The museum chronicles the rich history of Viennese Jewry and the outstanding roles Jews played in the development of the city. The Jewish Welcome Service aids Jewish visitors including newcomers who plan to remain in the city for longer periods.

Jewish Population in Vienna:

1846 - 3,379

1923 - 201,513

1945/46 - 4,000

1950 - 12,450

2000 - 9,000

Prague

Capital of the Czech Republic. Formerly the capital of Czechoslovakia.

It has the oldest Jewish community in Bohemia and one of the oldest communities in Europe, for some time the largest and most revered. Jews may have arrived in Prague in late roman times, but the first document mentioning them is a report by Ibrahim Ibn Ya'qub from about 970. The first definite evidence for the existence of a Jewish community in Prague dates to 1091. Jews arrived in Prague from both the east and west around the same time. It is probably for this reason that two Jewish districts came into being there right at the beginning.

The relatively favorable conditions in which the Jews at first lived in Prague were disrupted at the time of the first crusade in 1096. The crusaders murdered many of the Jews in Prague, looted Jewish property, and forced many to accept baptism. During the siege of Prague castle in 1142, the oldest synagogue in Prague and the Jewish quarter below the castle were burned down and the Jews moved to the right bank of the river Moldau (vltava), which was to become the future Jewish quarter, and founded the "Altschul" ("old synagogue") there.

The importance of Jewish culture in Prague is evidenced by the works of the halakhists there in the 11th to 13th centuries. The most celebrated was Isaac B. Moses of Vienna (d. C. 1250) author of "Or Zaru'a". Since the Czech language was spoken by the Jews of Prague in the early middle ages, the halakhic writings of that period also contain annotations in Czech. From the 13th to 16th centuries the Jews of Prague increasingly spoke German. At the time of persecutions which began at the end of the 11th century, the Jews of Prague, together with all the other Jews of Europe, lost their status as free people. From the 13th century on, the Jews of Bohemia were considered servants of the royal chamber (servi camerae regis). Their residence in Prague was subject to the most humiliating conditions (the wearing of special dress, segregation in the ghetto, etc.). The only occupation that Jews were allowed to adopt was moneylending, since this was forbidden to Christians and considered dishonest. Socially the Jews were in an inferior position.

The community suffered from persecutions accompanied by bloodshed in the 13th and 14th centuries, particularly in 1298 and 1338. Charles IV (1346- 1378) protected the Jews, but after his death the worst attack occurred in 1389, when nearly all the Jews of Prague fell victims. The rabbi of Prague and noted kabbalist Avigdor Kara, who witnessed and survived the outbreak, described it in a selichah. Under Wenceslaus IV the Jews of Prague suffered heavy material losses following an order by the king in 1411 canceling all debts owed to Jews.

At the beginning of the 15th century the Jews of Prague found themselves at the center of the Hussite wars (1419- 1436). The Jews of Prague also suffered from mob violence (1422) in this period. The unstable conditions in Prague compelled many Jews to emigrate.

Following the legalization, at the end of the 15th century, of moneylending by non-Jews in Prague, the Jews of Prague lost the economic significance which they had held in the medieval city, and had to look for other occupations in commerce and crafts. The position of the Jews began to improve at the beginning of the 16th century, mainly owing to the assistance of the king and the nobility. The Jews found greater opportunities in trading commodities and monetary transactions with the nobility. As a consequence, their economic position improved. In 1522 there were about 600 Jews in Prague, but by 1541 they numbered about 1,200. At the same time the Jewish quarters were extended. At the end of the 15th century the Jews of Prague founded new communities.

Under pressure of the citizens, king Ferdinand I was compelled in 1541 to approve the expulsion of the Jews. The Jews had to leave Prague by 1543, but were allowed to return in 1545. In 1557 Ferdinand I once again, this time upon his own initiative, ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Prague. They had to leave the city by 1559. Only after the retirement of Ferdinand I from the government of Bohemia were the Jews allowed to return to Prague in 1562.

The favorable position of the Jewish community of Prague during the reign of Rudolf II is reflected also in the flourishing Jewish culture. Among illustrious rabbis who taught in Prague at that time were Judah Loew B. Bezalel (the "maharal"); Ephraim Solomon B. Aaron of Luntschitz; Isaiah B. Abraham ha-levi Horowitz, who taught in Prague from 1614 to 1621; and Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, who became chief rabbi in 1627 but was forced to leave in 1631. The chronicler and astronomer David Gans also lived there in this period. At the beginning of the 17th century about 6,000 Jews were living in Prague.

In 1648 the Jews of Prague distinguished themselves in the defense of the city against the invading swedes. In recognition of their acts of heroism the Emperor presented them with a special flag which is still preserved in the Altneuschul. Its design with a Swedish cap in the center of the Shield of David became the official emblem of the Prague Jewish community.

After the thirty years' war, government policy was influenced by the church counter-reformation, and measures were taken to limit the Jews' means of earning a livelihood. A number of anti-Semitic resolutions and decrees were promulgated. Only the eldest son of every family was allowed to marry and found a family, the others having to remain single or leave Bohemia.

In 1680, more than 3,000 Jews in Prague died of the plague. Shortly afterward, in 1689, the Jewish quarter burned down, and over 300 Jewish houses and 11 synagogues were destroyed. The authorities initiated and partially implemented a project to transfer all the surviving Jews to the village of Lieben (Liben) north of Prague. Great excitement was aroused in 1694 by the murder trial of the father of Simon Abeles, a 12-year-old boy, who, it was alleged, had desired to be baptized and had been killed by his father. Simon was buried in the Tyn (Thein) church, the greatest and most celebrated cathedral of the old town of Prague. Concurrently with the religious incitement against the Jews an economic struggle was waged against them.

The anti-Jewish official policy reached its climax after the accession to the throne of Maria Theresa (1740-1780), who in 1744 issued an order expelling the Jews from Bohemia and Moravia. Jews were banished but were subsequently allowed to return after they promised to pay high taxes. In the baroque period noted rabbis were Simon Spira; Elias Spira; David Oppenheim; and Ezekiel Landau, chief rabbi and rosh yeshivah (1755-93(.

The position of the Jews greatly improved under Joseph II (1780-1790), who issued the Toleranzpatent of 1782. The new policy in regard to the Jews aimed at gradual abolition of the limitations imposed upon them, so that they could become more useful to the state in a modernized economic system. At the same time, the new regulations were part of the systematic policy of germanization pursued by Joseph II. Jews were compelled to adopt family names and to establish schools for secular studies; they became subject to military service, and were required to cease using Hebrew and Yiddish in business transactions. Wealthy and enterprising Jews made good use of the advantages of Joseph's reforms. Jews who founded manufacturing enterprises were allowed to settle outside the Jewish quarter of Prague.

Subsequently the limitations imposed upon Jews were gradually removed. In 1841 the prohibition on Jews owning land was rescinded. In 1846 the Jewish tax was abolished. In 1848 Jews were granted equal rights, and by 1867 the process of legal emancipation had been completed. In 1852 the ghetto of Prague was abolished. Because of the unhygienic conditions in the former Jewish quarter the Prague municipality decided in 1896 to pull down the old quarter, with the exception of important historical sites. Thus the Altneuschul, the Pinkas and Klaus, Meisel and Hoch synagogues, and some other places of historical and artistic interest remained intact.

In 1848 the community of Prague, numbering over 10,000, was still one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe (Vienna then numbered only 4,000 Jews). In the following period of the emancipation and the post- emancipation era the Prague community increased considerably in numbers, but did not keep pace with the rapidly expanding new Jewish metropolitan centers in western, central, and Eastern Europe.

After emancipation had been achieved in 1867, emigration from Prague abroad ceased as a mass phenomenon; movement to Vienna, Germany, and Western Europe continued. Jews were now represented in industry, especially the textile, clothing, leather, shoe, and food industries, in wholesale and retail trade, and in increasing numbers in the professions and as white-collar employees. Some Jewish bankers, industrialists and merchants achieved considerable wealth. The majority of Jews in Prague belonged to the middle class, but there also remained a substantial number of poor Jews.

Emancipation brought in its wake a quiet process of secularization and assimilation. In the first decades of the 19th century Prague Jewry, which then still led its traditionalist orthodox way of life, had been disturbed by the activities of the followers of Jacob Frank. The situation changed in the second half of the century. The chief rabbinate was still occupied by outstanding scholars, like Solomon Judah Rapoport, the leader of the Haskalah movement; Markus Hirsch (1880-1889) helped to weaken the religious influence in the community. Many synagogues introduced modernized services, a shortened liturgy, the organ and mixed choir, but did not necessarily embrace the principles of the reform movement.

Jews availed themselves eagerly of the opportunities to give their children a higher secular education. Jews formed a considerable part of the German minority in Prague, and the majority adhered to liberal movements. David Kuh founded the "German liberal party of Bohemia and represented it in the Bohemian diet (1862-1873). Despite strong Germanizing factors, many Jews adhered to the Czech language, and in the last two decades of the 19th century a Czech assimilationist movement developed which gained support from the continuing influx of Jews from the rural areas. Through the influence of German nationalists from the Sudeten districts anti-Semitism developed within the German population and opposed Jewish assimilation. At the end of the 19th century Zionism struck roots among the Jews of Bohemia, especially in Prague.

Growing secularization and assimilation led to an increase of mixed marriages and abandonment of Judaism. At the time of the Czechoslovak republic, established in 1918, many more people registered their dissociation of affiliation to the Jewish faith without adopting another. The proportion of mixed marriages in Bohemia was one of the highest in Europe. The seven communities of Prague were federated in the union of Jewish religious communities of greater Prague and cooperated on many issues. They established joint institutions; among these the most important was the institute for social welfare, established in 1935. The "Afike Jehuda society for the Advancement of Jewish Studies" was founded in 1869. There were also the Jewish museum and "The Jewish historical society of Czechoslovakia". A five-grade elementary school was established with Czech as the language of instruction. The many philanthropic institutions and associations included the Jewish care for the sick, the center for social welfare, the aid committee for refugees, the aid committee for Jews from Carpatho- Russia, orphanages, hostels for apprentices, old-age homes, a home for abandoned children, free-meal associations, associations for children's vacation centers, and funds to aid students. Zionist organizations were also well represented. There were three B'nai B'rith lodges, women's organizations, youth movements, student clubs, sports organizations, and a community center. Four Jewish weeklies were published in Prague (three Zionist; one Czech- assimilationist), and several monthlies and quarterlies. Most Jewish organizations in Czechoslovakia had their headquarters in Prague.

Jews first became politically active, and some of them prominent, within the German orbit. David Kuh and the president of the Jewish community, Arnold Rosenbacher, were among the leaders of the German Liberal party in the 19th century. Bruno Kafka and Ludwig Spiegel represented its successor in the Czechoslovak republic, the German Democratic Party, in the chamber of deputies and the senate respectively. Emil Strauss represented that party in the 1930s on the Prague Municipal Council and in the Bohemian diet. From the end of the 19th century an increasing number of Jews joined Czech parties, especially T. G. Masaryk's realists and the social democratic party. Among the latter Alfred Meissner, Lev Winter, and Robert Klein rose to prominence, the first two as ministers of justice and social welfare respectively.

Zionists, though a minority, soon became the most active element among the Jews of Prague. "Barissia" - Jewish Academic Corporation, was founded in Prague in 1903, it was one of the leading academic organizations for the advancement of Zionism in Bohemia. Before World War I the students' organization "Bar Kochba", under the leadership of Samuel Hugo Bergman, became one of the centers of cultural Zionism. The Prague Zionist Arthur Mahler was elected to the Austrian parliament in 1907, though as representative of an electoral district in Galicia. Under the leadership of Ludvik Singer the "Jewish National Council" was formed in 1918. Singer was elected in 1929 to the Czechoslovak parliament, and was succeeded after his death in 1931 by Angelo Goldstein. Singer, Goldstein, Frantisek Friedmann, and Jacob Reiss represented the Zionists on the Prague municipal council also. Some important Zionist conferences took place in Prague, among them the founding conference of hitachadut in 1920, and the
18th Zionist congress in 1933.

The group of Prague German-Jewish authors which emerged in the 1880s, known as the "Prague Circle" ('der Prager Kreis'), achieved international recognition and included Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Franz Werfel, Oskar Baum, Ludwig Winder, Leo Perutz, Egon Erwin Kisch, Otto Klepetar, and Willy Haas.

During the Holocaust period, the measures e.g., deprivation of property rights, prohibition against religious, cultural, or any other form of public activity, expulsion from the professions and from schools, a ban on the use of public transportation and the telephone, affected Prague Jews much more than those still living in the provinces. Jewish organizations provided social welfare and clandestinely continued the education of the youth and the training in languages and new vocations in preparation for emigration. The Palestine office in Prague, directed by Jacob Edelstein, enabled about 19,000 Jews to emigrate legally or otherwise until the end of 1939.

In March 1940, the Prague zentralstelle extended the area of its jurisdiction to include all of Bohemia and Moravia. In an attempt to obviate the deportation of the Jews to "the east", Jewish leaders, headed by Jacob Edelstein, proposed to the zentralstelle the establishment of a self- administered concentrated Jewish communal body; the Nazis eventually exploited this proposal in the establishment of a ghetto at Theresienstadt (Terezin). The Prague Jewish community was forced to provide the Nazis with lists of candidates for deportation and to ensure that they showed up at the assembly point and boarded deportation trains. In the period from October 6, 1941, to March 16, 1945, 46,067 Jews were deported from Prague to "the east" or to Theresienstadt. Two leading officials of the Jewish community, H. Bonn and Emil Kafka were dispatched to Mauthausen concentration camp and put to death after trying to slow down the pace of the deportations. The Nazis set up a treuhandstelle ("trustee Office") over evacuated Jewish apartments, furnishings, and possessions. This office sold these goods and forwarded the proceeds to the German winterhilfe ("winter aid"). The treuhandstelle ran as many as 54 warehouses, including 11 synagogues (as a result, none of the synagogues was destroyed). The zentralstelle brought Jewish religious articles from 153 Jewish communities to Prague on a proposal by Jewish scholars. This collection, including 5,400 religious objects, 24,500 prayer books, and 6,070 items of historical value the Nazis intended to utilize for a "central museum of the defunct Jewish race". Jewish historians engaged in the creation of the museum were deported to extermination camps just before the end of the war. Thus the Jewish museum had acquired at the end of the war one of the richest collections of Judaica in the world.


Prague had a Jewish population of 10,338 in 1946, of whom 1,396 Jews had not been deported (mostly of mixed Jewish and Christian parentage); 227 Jews had gone underground; 4,986 returned from prisons, concentration camps, or Theresienstadt; 883 returned from Czechoslovak army units abroad; 613 were Czechoslovak Jewish emigres who returned; and 2,233 were Jews from Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine), which had been ceded to the U.S.S.R. who decided to move to Czechoslovakia. The communist takeover of 1948 put an end to any attempt to revive the Jewish community and marked the beginning of a period of stagnation. By 1950 about half of the Jewish population had gone to Israel or immigrated to other countries. The Slansky trials and the officially promoted anti-Semitism had a destructive effect upon Jewish life. Nazi racism of the previous era was replaced by political and social discrimination. Most of the Jews of Prague were branded as "class enemies of the working people". During this
Period (1951-1964) there was no possibility of Jewish emigration from the country. The assets belonging to the Jewish community had to be relinquished to the state. The charitable organizations were disbanded, and the budget of the community, provided by the state, was drastically reduced. The general anti-religious policy of the regime resulted in the cessation, for all practical purposes, of such Jewish religious activities as bar-mitzvah religious instruction and wedding ceremonies. In 1964 only two cantors and two ritual slaughterers were left. The liberalization of the regime during 1965-1968 held out new hope for a renewal of Jewish life in Prague.

At the end of March 1967 the president of "The World Jewish Congress", Nahum Goldmann, was able to visit Prague and give a lecture in the Jewish town hall. Among the Jewish youth many tended to identify with Judaism. Following the soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 there was an attempt to put an end to this trend, however the Jewish youth, organized since 1965, carried on with their Jewish cultural activities until 1972. In the late 6os the Jewish population of Prague numbered about 2,000.

On the walls of the Pinkas synagogue, which is part of the central Jewish museum in Prague, are engraved the names of 77,297 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who were murdered by the Nazis in 1939-1945.

In 1997 some 6,000 Jews were living in the Czech Republic, most of them in Prague. The majority of the Jews of Prague were indeed elderly, but the Jewish community's strengthened in 1990's by many Jews, mainly American, who had come to work in the republic, settled in Prague, and joined the community.

In April 2000 the central square of Prague was named Franz Kafka square. This was done thanks to the unflinching efforts and after years of straggle with the authorities, of Professor Eduard Goldstucker, a Jew born in Prague, the initiator of the idea.
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Ernst Pribram

Ernst Pribram (1879-1940), serologist, born in Prague, Czech Republic (then part of the Austrian Empire). In 1911 he established himself in Vienna as specialist for general and experimental pathology, became assistant professor at the University of Vienna in 1915, and was appointed associate professor at the University of Chicago, Rush Medical College, in 1925. From 1928 he was professor of bacteriology and preventive medicine at Loyola University, Chicago. Pribram occupied himself with studies of bacteriology, serology, colloid chemistry, pharmacology, physiology and pathology. He died in Chicago.

His numerous published works include: Darstellung der Antikcoerper mittels chemischer und physikalischer Methoden (together with M.V. Eisler); “Haamotoxine und Antihaamotoxine der Bakterien” (in Handbuch der pathologischen Mikroorganismen, 1913); Anlegung und Pflege einer Kulturensammlung," ibid., 1930); ”Die wichtigsten Methoden beim Arbeiten mit Bacterien" (in Handbuch der biologischen Arbeitmethoden, 1925); Culture Media for Bacteria und Fungi (1925); Classification of Bacteria (1933).

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Prague
Vienna
Chicago
Prague

Capital of the Czech Republic. Formerly the capital of Czechoslovakia.

It has the oldest Jewish community in Bohemia and one of the oldest communities in Europe, for some time the largest and most revered. Jews may have arrived in Prague in late roman times, but the first document mentioning them is a report by Ibrahim Ibn Ya'qub from about 970. The first definite evidence for the existence of a Jewish community in Prague dates to 1091. Jews arrived in Prague from both the east and west around the same time. It is probably for this reason that two Jewish districts came into being there right at the beginning.

The relatively favorable conditions in which the Jews at first lived in Prague were disrupted at the time of the first crusade in 1096. The crusaders murdered many of the Jews in Prague, looted Jewish property, and forced many to accept baptism. During the siege of Prague castle in 1142, the oldest synagogue in Prague and the Jewish quarter below the castle were burned down and the Jews moved to the right bank of the river Moldau (vltava), which was to become the future Jewish quarter, and founded the "Altschul" ("old synagogue") there.

The importance of Jewish culture in Prague is evidenced by the works of the halakhists there in the 11th to 13th centuries. The most celebrated was Isaac B. Moses of Vienna (d. C. 1250) author of "Or Zaru'a". Since the Czech language was spoken by the Jews of Prague in the early middle ages, the halakhic writings of that period also contain annotations in Czech. From the 13th to 16th centuries the Jews of Prague increasingly spoke German. At the time of persecutions which began at the end of the 11th century, the Jews of Prague, together with all the other Jews of Europe, lost their status as free people. From the 13th century on, the Jews of Bohemia were considered servants of the royal chamber (servi camerae regis). Their residence in Prague was subject to the most humiliating conditions (the wearing of special dress, segregation in the ghetto, etc.). The only occupation that Jews were allowed to adopt was moneylending, since this was forbidden to Christians and considered dishonest. Socially the Jews were in an inferior position.

The community suffered from persecutions accompanied by bloodshed in the 13th and 14th centuries, particularly in 1298 and 1338. Charles IV (1346- 1378) protected the Jews, but after his death the worst attack occurred in 1389, when nearly all the Jews of Prague fell victims. The rabbi of Prague and noted kabbalist Avigdor Kara, who witnessed and survived the outbreak, described it in a selichah. Under Wenceslaus IV the Jews of Prague suffered heavy material losses following an order by the king in 1411 canceling all debts owed to Jews.

At the beginning of the 15th century the Jews of Prague found themselves at the center of the Hussite wars (1419- 1436). The Jews of Prague also suffered from mob violence (1422) in this period. The unstable conditions in Prague compelled many Jews to emigrate.

Following the legalization, at the end of the 15th century, of moneylending by non-Jews in Prague, the Jews of Prague lost the economic significance which they had held in the medieval city, and had to look for other occupations in commerce and crafts. The position of the Jews began to improve at the beginning of the 16th century, mainly owing to the assistance of the king and the nobility. The Jews found greater opportunities in trading commodities and monetary transactions with the nobility. As a consequence, their economic position improved. In 1522 there were about 600 Jews in Prague, but by 1541 they numbered about 1,200. At the same time the Jewish quarters were extended. At the end of the 15th century the Jews of Prague founded new communities.

Under pressure of the citizens, king Ferdinand I was compelled in 1541 to approve the expulsion of the Jews. The Jews had to leave Prague by 1543, but were allowed to return in 1545. In 1557 Ferdinand I once again, this time upon his own initiative, ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Prague. They had to leave the city by 1559. Only after the retirement of Ferdinand I from the government of Bohemia were the Jews allowed to return to Prague in 1562.

The favorable position of the Jewish community of Prague during the reign of Rudolf II is reflected also in the flourishing Jewish culture. Among illustrious rabbis who taught in Prague at that time were Judah Loew B. Bezalel (the "maharal"); Ephraim Solomon B. Aaron of Luntschitz; Isaiah B. Abraham ha-levi Horowitz, who taught in Prague from 1614 to 1621; and Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, who became chief rabbi in 1627 but was forced to leave in 1631. The chronicler and astronomer David Gans also lived there in this period. At the beginning of the 17th century about 6,000 Jews were living in Prague.

In 1648 the Jews of Prague distinguished themselves in the defense of the city against the invading swedes. In recognition of their acts of heroism the Emperor presented them with a special flag which is still preserved in the Altneuschul. Its design with a Swedish cap in the center of the Shield of David became the official emblem of the Prague Jewish community.

After the thirty years' war, government policy was influenced by the church counter-reformation, and measures were taken to limit the Jews' means of earning a livelihood. A number of anti-Semitic resolutions and decrees were promulgated. Only the eldest son of every family was allowed to marry and found a family, the others having to remain single or leave Bohemia.

In 1680, more than 3,000 Jews in Prague died of the plague. Shortly afterward, in 1689, the Jewish quarter burned down, and over 300 Jewish houses and 11 synagogues were destroyed. The authorities initiated and partially implemented a project to transfer all the surviving Jews to the village of Lieben (Liben) north of Prague. Great excitement was aroused in 1694 by the murder trial of the father of Simon Abeles, a 12-year-old boy, who, it was alleged, had desired to be baptized and had been killed by his father. Simon was buried in the Tyn (Thein) church, the greatest and most celebrated cathedral of the old town of Prague. Concurrently with the religious incitement against the Jews an economic struggle was waged against them.

The anti-Jewish official policy reached its climax after the accession to the throne of Maria Theresa (1740-1780), who in 1744 issued an order expelling the Jews from Bohemia and Moravia. Jews were banished but were subsequently allowed to return after they promised to pay high taxes. In the baroque period noted rabbis were Simon Spira; Elias Spira; David Oppenheim; and Ezekiel Landau, chief rabbi and rosh yeshivah (1755-93(.

The position of the Jews greatly improved under Joseph II (1780-1790), who issued the Toleranzpatent of 1782. The new policy in regard to the Jews aimed at gradual abolition of the limitations imposed upon them, so that they could become more useful to the state in a modernized economic system. At the same time, the new regulations were part of the systematic policy of germanization pursued by Joseph II. Jews were compelled to adopt family names and to establish schools for secular studies; they became subject to military service, and were required to cease using Hebrew and Yiddish in business transactions. Wealthy and enterprising Jews made good use of the advantages of Joseph's reforms. Jews who founded manufacturing enterprises were allowed to settle outside the Jewish quarter of Prague.

Subsequently the limitations imposed upon Jews were gradually removed. In 1841 the prohibition on Jews owning land was rescinded. In 1846 the Jewish tax was abolished. In 1848 Jews were granted equal rights, and by 1867 the process of legal emancipation had been completed. In 1852 the ghetto of Prague was abolished. Because of the unhygienic conditions in the former Jewish quarter the Prague municipality decided in 1896 to pull down the old quarter, with the exception of important historical sites. Thus the Altneuschul, the Pinkas and Klaus, Meisel and Hoch synagogues, and some other places of historical and artistic interest remained intact.

In 1848 the community of Prague, numbering over 10,000, was still one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe (Vienna then numbered only 4,000 Jews). In the following period of the emancipation and the post- emancipation era the Prague community increased considerably in numbers, but did not keep pace with the rapidly expanding new Jewish metropolitan centers in western, central, and Eastern Europe.

After emancipation had been achieved in 1867, emigration from Prague abroad ceased as a mass phenomenon; movement to Vienna, Germany, and Western Europe continued. Jews were now represented in industry, especially the textile, clothing, leather, shoe, and food industries, in wholesale and retail trade, and in increasing numbers in the professions and as white-collar employees. Some Jewish bankers, industrialists and merchants achieved considerable wealth. The majority of Jews in Prague belonged to the middle class, but there also remained a substantial number of poor Jews.

Emancipation brought in its wake a quiet process of secularization and assimilation. In the first decades of the 19th century Prague Jewry, which then still led its traditionalist orthodox way of life, had been disturbed by the activities of the followers of Jacob Frank. The situation changed in the second half of the century. The chief rabbinate was still occupied by outstanding scholars, like Solomon Judah Rapoport, the leader of the Haskalah movement; Markus Hirsch (1880-1889) helped to weaken the religious influence in the community. Many synagogues introduced modernized services, a shortened liturgy, the organ and mixed choir, but did not necessarily embrace the principles of the reform movement.

Jews availed themselves eagerly of the opportunities to give their children a higher secular education. Jews formed a considerable part of the German minority in Prague, and the majority adhered to liberal movements. David Kuh founded the "German liberal party of Bohemia and represented it in the Bohemian diet (1862-1873). Despite strong Germanizing factors, many Jews adhered to the Czech language, and in the last two decades of the 19th century a Czech assimilationist movement developed which gained support from the continuing influx of Jews from the rural areas. Through the influence of German nationalists from the Sudeten districts anti-Semitism developed within the German population and opposed Jewish assimilation. At the end of the 19th century Zionism struck roots among the Jews of Bohemia, especially in Prague.

Growing secularization and assimilation led to an increase of mixed marriages and abandonment of Judaism. At the time of the Czechoslovak republic, established in 1918, many more people registered their dissociation of affiliation to the Jewish faith without adopting another. The proportion of mixed marriages in Bohemia was one of the highest in Europe. The seven communities of Prague were federated in the union of Jewish religious communities of greater Prague and cooperated on many issues. They established joint institutions; among these the most important was the institute for social welfare, established in 1935. The "Afike Jehuda society for the Advancement of Jewish Studies" was founded in 1869. There were also the Jewish museum and "The Jewish historical society of Czechoslovakia". A five-grade elementary school was established with Czech as the language of instruction. The many philanthropic institutions and associations included the Jewish care for the sick, the center for social welfare, the aid committee for refugees, the aid committee for Jews from Carpatho- Russia, orphanages, hostels for apprentices, old-age homes, a home for abandoned children, free-meal associations, associations for children's vacation centers, and funds to aid students. Zionist organizations were also well represented. There were three B'nai B'rith lodges, women's organizations, youth movements, student clubs, sports organizations, and a community center. Four Jewish weeklies were published in Prague (three Zionist; one Czech- assimilationist), and several monthlies and quarterlies. Most Jewish organizations in Czechoslovakia had their headquarters in Prague.

Jews first became politically active, and some of them prominent, within the German orbit. David Kuh and the president of the Jewish community, Arnold Rosenbacher, were among the leaders of the German Liberal party in the 19th century. Bruno Kafka and Ludwig Spiegel represented its successor in the Czechoslovak republic, the German Democratic Party, in the chamber of deputies and the senate respectively. Emil Strauss represented that party in the 1930s on the Prague Municipal Council and in the Bohemian diet. From the end of the 19th century an increasing number of Jews joined Czech parties, especially T. G. Masaryk's realists and the social democratic party. Among the latter Alfred Meissner, Lev Winter, and Robert Klein rose to prominence, the first two as ministers of justice and social welfare respectively.

Zionists, though a minority, soon became the most active element among the Jews of Prague. "Barissia" - Jewish Academic Corporation, was founded in Prague in 1903, it was one of the leading academic organizations for the advancement of Zionism in Bohemia. Before World War I the students' organization "Bar Kochba", under the leadership of Samuel Hugo Bergman, became one of the centers of cultural Zionism. The Prague Zionist Arthur Mahler was elected to the Austrian parliament in 1907, though as representative of an electoral district in Galicia. Under the leadership of Ludvik Singer the "Jewish National Council" was formed in 1918. Singer was elected in 1929 to the Czechoslovak parliament, and was succeeded after his death in 1931 by Angelo Goldstein. Singer, Goldstein, Frantisek Friedmann, and Jacob Reiss represented the Zionists on the Prague municipal council also. Some important Zionist conferences took place in Prague, among them the founding conference of hitachadut in 1920, and the
18th Zionist congress in 1933.

The group of Prague German-Jewish authors which emerged in the 1880s, known as the "Prague Circle" ('der Prager Kreis'), achieved international recognition and included Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Franz Werfel, Oskar Baum, Ludwig Winder, Leo Perutz, Egon Erwin Kisch, Otto Klepetar, and Willy Haas.

During the Holocaust period, the measures e.g., deprivation of property rights, prohibition against religious, cultural, or any other form of public activity, expulsion from the professions and from schools, a ban on the use of public transportation and the telephone, affected Prague Jews much more than those still living in the provinces. Jewish organizations provided social welfare and clandestinely continued the education of the youth and the training in languages and new vocations in preparation for emigration. The Palestine office in Prague, directed by Jacob Edelstein, enabled about 19,000 Jews to emigrate legally or otherwise until the end of 1939.

In March 1940, the Prague zentralstelle extended the area of its jurisdiction to include all of Bohemia and Moravia. In an attempt to obviate the deportation of the Jews to "the east", Jewish leaders, headed by Jacob Edelstein, proposed to the zentralstelle the establishment of a self- administered concentrated Jewish communal body; the Nazis eventually exploited this proposal in the establishment of a ghetto at Theresienstadt (Terezin). The Prague Jewish community was forced to provide the Nazis with lists of candidates for deportation and to ensure that they showed up at the assembly point and boarded deportation trains. In the period from October 6, 1941, to March 16, 1945, 46,067 Jews were deported from Prague to "the east" or to Theresienstadt. Two leading officials of the Jewish community, H. Bonn and Emil Kafka were dispatched to Mauthausen concentration camp and put to death after trying to slow down the pace of the deportations. The Nazis set up a treuhandstelle ("trustee Office") over evacuated Jewish apartments, furnishings, and possessions. This office sold these goods and forwarded the proceeds to the German winterhilfe ("winter aid"). The treuhandstelle ran as many as 54 warehouses, including 11 synagogues (as a result, none of the synagogues was destroyed). The zentralstelle brought Jewish religious articles from 153 Jewish communities to Prague on a proposal by Jewish scholars. This collection, including 5,400 religious objects, 24,500 prayer books, and 6,070 items of historical value the Nazis intended to utilize for a "central museum of the defunct Jewish race". Jewish historians engaged in the creation of the museum were deported to extermination camps just before the end of the war. Thus the Jewish museum had acquired at the end of the war one of the richest collections of Judaica in the world.


Prague had a Jewish population of 10,338 in 1946, of whom 1,396 Jews had not been deported (mostly of mixed Jewish and Christian parentage); 227 Jews had gone underground; 4,986 returned from prisons, concentration camps, or Theresienstadt; 883 returned from Czechoslovak army units abroad; 613 were Czechoslovak Jewish emigres who returned; and 2,233 were Jews from Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine), which had been ceded to the U.S.S.R. who decided to move to Czechoslovakia. The communist takeover of 1948 put an end to any attempt to revive the Jewish community and marked the beginning of a period of stagnation. By 1950 about half of the Jewish population had gone to Israel or immigrated to other countries. The Slansky trials and the officially promoted anti-Semitism had a destructive effect upon Jewish life. Nazi racism of the previous era was replaced by political and social discrimination. Most of the Jews of Prague were branded as "class enemies of the working people". During this
Period (1951-1964) there was no possibility of Jewish emigration from the country. The assets belonging to the Jewish community had to be relinquished to the state. The charitable organizations were disbanded, and the budget of the community, provided by the state, was drastically reduced. The general anti-religious policy of the regime resulted in the cessation, for all practical purposes, of such Jewish religious activities as bar-mitzvah religious instruction and wedding ceremonies. In 1964 only two cantors and two ritual slaughterers were left. The liberalization of the regime during 1965-1968 held out new hope for a renewal of Jewish life in Prague.

At the end of March 1967 the president of "The World Jewish Congress", Nahum Goldmann, was able to visit Prague and give a lecture in the Jewish town hall. Among the Jewish youth many tended to identify with Judaism. Following the soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 there was an attempt to put an end to this trend, however the Jewish youth, organized since 1965, carried on with their Jewish cultural activities until 1972. In the late 6os the Jewish population of Prague numbered about 2,000.

On the walls of the Pinkas synagogue, which is part of the central Jewish museum in Prague, are engraved the names of 77,297 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who were murdered by the Nazis in 1939-1945.

In 1997 some 6,000 Jews were living in the Czech Republic, most of them in Prague. The majority of the Jews of Prague were indeed elderly, but the Jewish community's strengthened in 1990's by many Jews, mainly American, who had come to work in the republic, settled in Prague, and joined the community.

In April 2000 the central square of Prague was named Franz Kafka square. This was done thanks to the unflinching efforts and after years of straggle with the authorities, of Professor Eduard Goldstucker, a Jew born in Prague, the initiator of the idea.

Vienna

In German: Wien. Capital of Austria

Early History

Documentary evidence points to the first settlement of Jews in the 12th century. A charter of privileges was granted by Emperor Frederick II in 1238, giving the Jewish community extensive autonomy. At the close of the 13th and during the 14th centuries, the community of Vienna was recognized as the leading community of German Jewry. In the second half of the 13th century there were about 1,000 Jews in the community.
The influence of the "Sages of Vienna" spread far beyond the limits of the city itself and continued for many generations. Of primary importance were Isaac B. Moses "Or Zaru'a", his son Chayyim "Or Zaru'a", Avigdor B. Elijah Ha- Kohen, and Meir B. Baruch Ha- Levi. At the time of the Black Death persecutions of 1348-49, the community of Vienna was spared and even served as a refuge for Jews from other places.

Toward the end of the 14th century there was a growing anti-Jewish feeling among the burghers; in 1406, during the course of a fire that broke out in the synagogue, in which it was destroyed, the burghers seized the opportunity to attack Jewish homes. Many of the community's members died as martyrs in the persecutions of 1421, others were expelled, and the children forcibly converted. After the persecutions nevertheless some Jews remained there illegally. In 1512, there were 12 Jewish families in Vienna, and a small number of Jews continued to live there during the 16th century, often faced with threats of expulsion. During the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), Jews suffered as a result of the occupation of the city by Imperial soldiers. In 1624, Emperor Ferdinand II confined the Jews to a ghetto. Some Jews at this time engaged in international trade; others were petty traders. Among the prominent rabbis of the renewed community was Yom Tov Lipman Heller, and Shabbetai Sheftel Horowitz,
one of the many refugees from Poland who fled the Chmielnicki who led anti-Jewish massacres of 1648.

Hatred of the Jews by the townsmen increased during the mid 17th century. The poorer Jews were expelled in 1669; the rest were exiled during the Hebrew month of Av (summer) of the year 1670, and their properties taken from them. The Great Synagogue was converted into a Catholic church. Some of the Jews took advantage of the offer to convert to Christianity so as not to be exiled.

By 1693, the financial losses to the city were sufficient to generate support for a proposal to readmit the Jews. Only the wealthy were authorized to reside in Vienna, as "tolerated subjects", in exchange for very high taxes. Prayer services were permitted to be held only in a private house.

The founders of the community and its leaders in those years, as well as during the 18th century, were prominent Court Jews, such as Samuel Oppenheimer, Samson Wertheimer, and Baron Diego Aguilar. As a result of their activities, Vienna became a center for Jewish diplomatic efforts on behalf of Jews throughout the Habsburg Empire as well as an important center for Jewish philanthropy. A Sephardi community in Vienna traces its origins to 1737, and grew as a result of commerce with the Balkans.

The Jews suffered under the restrictive legislation of Empress Maria Theresia (1740- 80). In 1781, her son, Joseph II, issued his "Toleranzpatent", which, though attacked in Jewish circles, paved the way in some respects for later Emancipation.

By 1793, there was a Hebrew printing press in Vienna that soon became the center for Hebrew printing in Central Europe. During this period, the first signs of assimilation in social and family life of the Jews of Vienna made their appearance. At the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Viennese salon culture was promoted by Jewish wealthy women, whose salons served as entertainment and meeting places for the rulers of Europe.

The Jewish Community and the Haskalah Movement

From the close of the 18th century, and especially during the first decades of the 19th century, Vienna became a center of the Haskalah movement.

Despite restrictions, the number of Jews in the city rapidly increased. At a later period the call for religious reform was heard in Vienna. Various maskilim, including Peter Peretz Ber and Naphtali Hertz Homberg, tried to convince the government to impose Haskalah recommendations and religious reform on the Jews. This aroused strong controversy among the Viennese Community.

Jewish Immigration

During the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century, the Jewish population of Vienna increased as a result of immigration there by Jews from other regions of the Empire, particularly Hungary, Galicia, and Bukovina. The influence and scope of the community's activities increased particularly after the annexation of Galicia by Austria. By 1923, Vienna had become the third largest Jewish community in Europe. Many Jews entered the liberal professions.

Community Life

In 1826, a magnificent synagogue, in which the Hebrew language and the traditional text of the prayers were retained, was inaugurated. It was the first legal synagogue to be opened since 1671. Before the Holocaust, there were about 59 synagogues of various religious trends in Vienna. There was also a Jewish educational network. The rabbinical Seminary, founded in 1893, was a European center for research into Jewish literature and history. The most prominent scholars were M.Guedeman, A. Jellinek, Adolph Schwarz, Adolf Buechler, David Mueller, Victor Aptowitzer, Z.H. Chajes, and Samuel Krauss. There was also a "Hebrew Pedagogium" for the training of Hebrew teachers.

Vienna also became a Jewish sports center; the football team Hakoach and the Maccabi organization of Vienna were well known. Many Jews were actors, producers, musicians and writers, scientists, researchers and thinkers.

Some Prominent Viennese Jews: Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951), musician, composer; Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911), musician, composer; Franz Werfel (1890 - 1945), author; Stefan Zweig (1881 - 1942), author; Karl Kraus (1874 - 1936), satirist, poet; Otto Bauer (1881 - 1938), socialist leader; Alfred Adler (1870 - 1937), psychiatrist; Arthur Schnitzler (1862 - 1931), playwright, author; Isaac Noach Mannheimer (1793 - 1865), Reform preacher; Joseph Popper (1838 -1921), social philosopher, engineer; Max Adler (1873 - 1937), socialist theoretician; Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939), psychiatrist, creator of Psychoanalysis; Adolf Fischhoff (1816 - 1893), politician.

The Zionist Movement

Though in the social life and the administration of the community, there was mostly strong opposition to Jewish National action, Vienna was also a center of the national awakening. Peretz Smolenskin published Ha-Shachar between 1868 and 1885 in Vienna, while Nathan Birnbaum founded the first Jewish Nationalist Student Association, Kadimah, there in 1882, and preached "Pre-Herzl Zionism" from 1884. The leading newspaper, Neue Freie Presse, to which Theodor Herzl contributed, was owned in part by Jews.
It was due to Herzl that Vienna was at first the center of Zionist activities. He published the Zionist Movement's Organ, Die Welt, and established the headquarters of the Zionist Executive there.

The Zionist Movement in Vienna gained in strength after World War I. In 1919, the Zionist Robert Stricker was elected to the Austrian Parliament. The Zionists did not obtain a majority in the community until the elections of 1932.

The Holocaust Period

Nazi Germany occupied Vienna in March 1938. In less than one year the Nazis introduced all the discriminatory laws, backed by ruthless terror and by mass arrests (usually of economic leaders and Intellectuals, who were detained in special camps or sent to Dachau). These measures were accompanied by unspeakable atrocities. Vienna's Chief Rabbi, Dr. Israel Taglicht, who was more than 75 years old, was among those who were forced to clean with their bare hands the pavements of main streets. During Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938), 42 synagogues were destroyed, hundreds of flats were plundered by the S.A. and the Hitler Youth.

The first transports of deported Jews were sent to the notorious Nisko concentration camp, in the Lublin District (October 1939). The last mass transport left in September 1942; it included many prominent people and Jewish dignitaries, who were sent to Theresienstadt, from where later they were mostly deported to Auschwitz. In November 1942, the Jewish community of Vienna was officially dissolved. About 800 Viennese Jews survived by remaining underground.

Last 50 Years

In the last 50 years, Vienna has become the main transient stopping-place and the first refuge for hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees and emigrants from Eastern Europe after World War II.

The only synagogue to survive the Shoah is the Stadttempel (built 1826), where the community offices and the Chief Rabbinate are located. A number of synagogues and prayer rooms catering to various chassidic groups and other congregations are functioning on a regular basis in Vienna. One kosher supermarket, as well as a kosher butcher shop and bakery serve the community

The only Jewish school run by the community is the Zwi Perez Chajes School, which reopened in 1980 after a hiatus of 50 years, and includes a kindergarden, elementary and high school. About 400 additional pupils receive Jewish religious instruction in general schools and two additional Talmud Torah schools. The ultra-orthodox stream of the community, which has been growing significantly since the 1980's, maintain their separate school system.
Though the Zionists constitute a minority, there are intensive and diversified Zionist activities. A number of journals and papers are published by the community, such as Die Gemeinde, the official organ of the Community, and the Illustrierte Neue Welt. The Austrian Jewish Students Union publishes the Noodnik.

The Documentation Center, established and directed by Simon Wiesenthal and supported by the community, developed into the important Institute for the documentation of the Holocaust and the tracing of Nazi Criminals.

In 1993, the Jewish Museum in Vienna opened its doors and became a central cultural institution of the community, offering a varied program of cultural and educational activities and attracting a large public of Jewish and non-Jewish visitors. The museum chronicles the rich history of Viennese Jewry and the outstanding roles Jews played in the development of the city. The Jewish Welcome Service aids Jewish visitors including newcomers who plan to remain in the city for longer periods.

Jewish Population in Vienna:

1846 - 3,379

1923 - 201,513

1945/46 - 4,000

1950 - 12,450

2000 - 9,000

Chicago

City in Northeastern Illinois, USA.

Early History

Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 and had at the time a population of some 5,000 inhabitants. Between 1840 and 1844 about twenty Jews settled in the city, most of them immigrants from the German regions of Bavaria and the Palatinate. On October 3, 1846, fifteen Jews founded the first Jewish congregation in the city, Kehilat Anshe Maarav (The Congregation of the People of the West), subsequently referred as K.A.M. They practiced the traditional Minhag Ashkenaz and worshiped in a room above a clothing store. By the middle of the century, ten additional community organizations came into being, which operated until WW2. In 1861 the Reform congregation Sinai was founded. At this time Russian and Lithuanian immigrants from Eastern Europe began to arrive in the city. They spoke Yiddish and peddling was their chief occupation. As early as the autumn of 1862 the Eastern European Jews organized congregation B’nai Jacob, and a year later, Beth Hamedrash Hagodol . In 1867 both congregations merged under the name Beth Hamedrash Ub’nai Jacob .

When the American Civil War hostilities began, the Jewish community in Chicago had increased to the extent that it was able to recruit a complete company of a hundred Jewish volunteers to join the 82nd Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. The Jewish community of Chicago quickly recovered from the great fire of 1871, which affected the neighborhood of the German Jews, and from the fire of 1874, which affected mostly East European Jews. The neighborhood of the Russian and Polish Jews received the cognomen “The Ghetto” and that of the German Jews “The Golden Ghetto”.
In the 1860s German Jews began to enter the medical and legal professions, some also went into banking, even founding Jewish banking houses. The new Russian immigrants of the 1880s preferred factory work and small business. The greatest number of them, 4,000 by 1900, entered the tobacco industry, primarily the cigar trade. The growth of sweat shops in the needle trade in the 1880s with their unsanitary conditions and excessive hours were the determining factors in the development of the Jewish Socialist movement and the Jewish trade-union movement. The Chicago cloak-makers union, predominantly Jewish, was the first to protest against child labor, which persisted despite compulsory education. They succeeded only in establishing a 14-year old age limit and limiting any sweatshop to the members of one family. It was the strike in 1911 that established collective bargaining in the clothing industry. It laid the foundations for a new and lasting union, the amalgamated clothing workers of America. An alternative to sweat shops and peddling was provided for a few by the Jewish Agriculturists Aid Society of America , founded in Chicago in 1888. From the 1880s to the 1920s the Jewish Population Grew from 10,000 to 225,000, or from 2% to 8% of the general population.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, Jews relocated their residences to the northern part of the city and in the suburbs to its north. In 1969 West Rogers Park and suburban Skokie were the largest Jewish communities, each with a Jewish population of 50,000, constituting about 70% of the total population of the area. To a considerable extent the development of these new communities with religious, educational, cultural, and social service facilities was the result of a conscious effort to perpetuate Jewish group cohesion. Community leaders held the opinion that a modicum of Jewish education and voluntary segregation in a high-status residential area would forestall assimilation.


The Community in the 1960s

In 1961 Chicago had 43 Orthodox synagogues, 25 Conservative, 16 Reform, and five traditional. The Chicago Board of Rabbis , supported by the Jewish Federation and Jewish Welfare Fund, sponsored all programs of Jewish content on radio and television, and the Chaplaincy Committee , which served hospital and penal institutions. During the 1960s there were also three mikvaot , two Battei-Din (Rabbinical courts) – one Orthodox and one Conservative. The Battei-Din were concerned primarily with issuing religious divorces (gittin) and conversions. In 1969 it was estimated that about 15% of the Chicago Jewish Community was foreign-born and about 5% still used Yiddish as their vernacular. About 3% to 5% were strict Shabbath observers, but synagogue affiliation was less than 50% in the city and about 60% in the suburbs.

In 1968 the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Welfare Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, including the United Jewish Appeal, united as the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. In addition to national and overseas aid, the Jewish United Fund served many communal Institutions, such as the Family Community Service, child development and day-care centers, and medical centers. There have been two Jewish hospitals dedicated in 1881, and Mount Sinai, founded in 1918 as a successor to Maimonides hospital, which had been incorporated in 1910.
Many Jews have occupied high government positions, both locally and nationally, among them Arthur Goldberg, former Justice of the United States and ambassador to the United Nations. The social and cultural integration of Chicago Jews into the life of the city is best illustrated by the fact that the presidents of three institutions of higher learning in 1970 were Jewish.

Cultural life

A bibliography of Hebrew and Yiddish publications published in Chicago between 1877 and 1950 shows 492 titles. The Yiddish press in Chicago was most prolific. The Hebrew press in Chicago was not as successful as the Yiddish press. It made its debut in 1877 with the weekly Heikhal Ha-Ivriyyah, which was a supplement to the Israelitishe Press and was published until 1879. Keren Or, a monthly followed in 1889. In 1897 the weekly Ha-Pisgah made its appearance, and was replaced in 1899 by the Ha-Techiyyah. The first Jewish periodical to appear in Chicago was the weekly Occident in 1873, which continued publication until 1895. In 1969 there was one Anglo-Jewish weekly, The Sentinel , founded in 1911, A Chicago edition of The Jewish Post and Opinion, The Chicago Forum, a quarterly, founded in 1942, and The Jewish Way, appearing before every major Jewish holiday, founded in 1948.

Jewish Population in Greater Chicago Area

In 1999 the Jewish population of Greater Chicago Area (all of Cook and DuPage counties and a portion of Lake County) was estimated at 261,000 inhabitants being the forth largest Jewish center in the USA. There are numerous agencies, organizations, institutions taking care of every aspect of Jewish life, from family and community support and senior assistance through religious needs, health care, cultural activities, and education, up to volunteer work and charity. The community is deeply involved in the life of the American Jewry and indeed its impact is felt far beyond all over the Jewish world, including Israel.
Some 30,000 Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union choose to settle in Metropolitan Chicago during the last 25 years. Many received the assistance of the Jewish Federation at the start of their new life in the USA.

Education

Strengthening the Jewish identity, assuring its continuity while preserving its rich heritage is one of the main concerns of the Jewish Federation. The Jewish Federation’s total allocations on education amounted to more than 20% of the total thus emphasizing its important role in maintaining Jewish life during the coming generations.
Jewish education in Greater Chicago area is advanced by a large number of schools and non formal educational institutions providing various courses and programs for children of all ages as well for youngsters and families. They all have in common a desire to promote Jewish values and heritage, to stimulate new Jewish creativity and to help preserve a distinct Jewish identity while preparing the younger generations towards the challenges posed by a constantly changing society.
The various educational options are provided by many Hebrew, Sunday and day schools, and also numerous informal institutions for adults and families encompassing programs as diverse as day care programs, higher education, and camps and summer schools.
Chicago is the home of the Hebrew Theological College , Yeshiva High School and Teachers Institute, The College of Jewish Studies , a branch of the Telz yeshivah, The Chicago Jewish Academy.
Primary day schools include the Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School, the Kinderland/Hebrew Academy , the Sephardic Hebrew Day School, and Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School, and of the secondary day schools a mention should be made of Ida Crown Jewish Academy and Bais Yaakov High School of Chicago, among others. Sachs-Skora Community Hebrew School, Consolidated Traditional Hebrew School are only two of the many primary Hebrew Sunday schools that function in the Greater Chicago area.
Family education is promoted by a number of institutions, among them the various Jewish community Centers of Chicago, the Marvin N. Stone Centre for Jewish Arts & Letters , the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies – a liberal arts college. Spertus also houses the Zell Holocaust Memorial whose resources help children and adults to better comprehend the Holocaust.

Jewish Periodicals

The Jewish periodicals published in Chicago include the weekly Chicago Jewish News, with an online edition, the fortnightly Chicago Jewish Star distributed free of charge - both based in Skokie, the quarterly Jewish Community News that started publication in 1941, and the annual JUF News & Guide to Jewish Living in Chicago published jointly by the Jewish United Fund and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Jewish Image is a monthly family magazine based in Chicago and is distributed free of charge all over United States. Kosher Consumer is published by the Chicago Rabbinical Council six times a year and contains information on kosher products.

Radio, TV and e-media

Jerusalem Online – WCFC-TV 38, is a half-hour magazine broadcast from Jerusalem on Fridays at 20:00 and rebroadcast on Sundays at 13:00. Sanctuary - WLS-TV7, is a talk-show focused on Jewish issues and produced by the Jewish Television Commission – a joint venture of the Jewish Federation and of the Chicago Board of Rabbis.
The Torah Radio Network broadcasts an array of programs on Jewish issues.
Israel News by Phone – 847-679-9374, offers daily updates Sunday through Friday, in English, from the Israeli Arutz-7 radio station.
The Moshe and Esther Brandman Memorial Tape Library makes possible to listen to edifying and informative lectures by Torah scholars.

Religious life

The religious needs of the Jews living in the Greater Chicago are served by numerous of institutions, organizations, and synagogues belonging to all Jewish movements. All other aspects of Jewish life, like kosher food, mikveh , Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, to list only a few are provided by the various congregations and by the Jewish Federation. Jewish Burial Society and Chicago Jewish Funerals provide Jewish funerals, among others.
Religious life is coordinated by the Chicago Rabbinical Council which takes care of the different aspects and necessities of Orthodox Judaism and by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations UAHC – Chicago for the Reform Judaism. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is overseeing the activities of the Conservative congregations setting guidelines for their social, educative, and religious programs.

Synagogues

Of the Conservative synagogues a special mention should be made of the veteran Anshe Emet Synagogue located in the Lakeview neighborhood and which represents a landmark in the Jewish history of Chicago. Other Conservative congregations include Temple Har Zion in River Forest, Congregation Am Chai in Hoffman Estates, Congegation Rodfei Zedek , and B’nai Emunah in Skokie. Temple Menorah, Emanuel Congregation, and Congregation Or Chadash in Chicago belong to the Reform movement as well as Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Glenview, and Congregation B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom in Homewood, to name only a few of the more than 20 Reform temples located in Metropolitan Chicago.
Among the Orthodox synagogues Congregation Adas Yeshuron Anshe Kanesses Israel and Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel are located in Chicago and Congregation Or Torah is situated in Skokie.
Skokie has also a Reconstructionist congregation – Ezra Habonim Niles Township Jewish Congregation , additional Reconstructionist congregations are located in Evanston – Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation , in Naperville – Congregation Beth Shalom, and in Northbrook – Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Synagogue.

Ties with Israel

Within the framework of the Partnership 2000 project that strives to establish and develop close relationships between Jewish communities in the Diaspora and Israeli towns and villages, the Jewish Federation and the Jewish United Fund in Chicago are connected with the Lachish area in the Negev region of Israel providing its inhabitants with assistance in development as well as with an informal opportunity to foster direct contacts between the two communities.
General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities
During November 10-15, 2000, the Jewish Federation of Chicago hosted the annual General Assembly (GA) of the United Jewish Communities with some 5,000 delegates expected to gather from US, Canada, South America, Israel and Europe.

Early 21st century

The city of Chicago is home to the fifth largest Jewish population in the United States. According to a 2010 study published by the Berman Jewish Databank, approximately 291,000 Jews live in the Chicago metropolitan area. By 2013, the Jewish community comprised nearly 10% of the city’s total population (2.7 million).

Located across Chicago are a number of organizations which serve the city’s Jewish community. Many of these were established during the mid 20th century, but as the Jewish community continued to change with each passing generation, the need for specialized programs led to the development of several foundations and support groups. Serving the more than 145,000 Jewish households living in Chicago are organizations such as The United Hebrew Relief Association (UHRA), EZRA, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Chicago, Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps, and the Jewish Family & Community Service Virginia Frank Child Development Center. The JUF Café provides the community’s poor with kosher meals and ARK, a non-profit community-funded agency, offers many social services including housing, food, medical care, and employment assistance. There are also those which focus on Holocaust victims such as the Holocaust Community Services, the Association of Descendants of the Shoah-Illinois (ADSI), and the Holocaust Education Foundation. Often working in tandem with various organizations are the city’s several Jewish councils. These include The Council for Jewish Elderly, West Rogers Park Jewish Community Council, and the Midwest Jewish Council.

Founded in 1977, The Chicago Jewish Historical Society preserves the history of Chicago’s Jewish community. The society collects and maintains a variety of written, spoken and photographic records. They sponsor lectures, events and tours of the city’s Jewish historical sites. Some of Chicago’s famous Jewish landmarks include the Kehilat Anshe Maarav at the Isaiah Israel Congregation in Hyde Park, the site of the old Maxwell Street Market located in one of Chicago’s oldest residential neighborhoods, the headquarters of the Jewish United Fund on Ben Gurion Way on S. Franklin, the Chicago Loop Synagogue, and the historic neighborhood of Lawndale.

About twenty six percent of Chicago’s Jews identify as orthodox or traditional. Thirty five percent identify as conservative while another thirty percent or more identify as reform. By 2004, there was an estimated 140 synagogues in the Chicago metropolitan area. Nearly every movement within modern Judaism is represented. There are 39 orthodox, 31 conservative, 36 reform, 14 traditional, 3 reconstructionist, 1 humanist, and about 7 non-denominational congregations. There are also 4 mikva'ot and 2 rabbinical courts.

The Jewish community of Chicago hosts a variety of educational programs and institutions. Many of these are supported by the Jewish Federation with different allocations and grants. Jewish education in Chicago spans from day care to the college level. Eighty percent of Chicago's Jewish children receive Jewish education. In addition to several day schools and yeshivot are institutions such as the Ida Crown Jewish Academy, Associated Talmud Torahs, Anne Blitstein Teachers Institute of Women, and the Board of Jewish Education. Courses of higher learning are offered at The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, the Rorh Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) and the Hebrew Theological College.

Other sources of Jewish education can be found within the city's museums, centers and memorials, particularly, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Educational Center, the Chicago Jewish Historical Society, the Chicago Hebrew Institute and the Kohl Children's Museum.

For students and young professionals are a number of Jewish clubs and associations. Some are committed to community outreach while others bring people together. Avodah, the Jewish service corps, advocates for poverty while Club 1948 works to connect Israelis with Jewish Americans. There is also a variety of programs for Jewish singles and young Jewish professionals as well as multiple Jewish Community Centers, B'nai Brith and Kum Kibbutz.

Throughout the city of Chicago are several Jewish enclaves. The largest is West Rogers Park. Also known as the Golden Ghetto, since 1930, Rogers Park has had a significant Jewish population and the largest Hasidic community in the Midwest. During the 1960s, it became home to a thriving community of Russian Jews. This neighborhood has more than 20 congregations and a number of kosher butchers, bakeries, restaurants, markets and grocery stores. Another notable community was located in North Lawndale. For much of the first half of the 20th century, this historic neighborhood was home to one of Chicago’s most vibrant Jewish communities. Remembered simply as Jewish Lawndale, it was the core of Chicago’s Jewish West Side. Following World War II, much of the Jewish population relocated into suburban areas. By 1995, there were more than 150,000 Jews living in the suburbs of Chicago. Jewish neighborhoods are located throughout the Northern, Western and Southern districts. Large populations can be found in Petersen Park, Hollywood Park and Hyde Park-Kenwood, which is home to the oldest congregations in Chicago.

Providing medical need to Jewish children and families are many healthcare facilities including hospitals and support centers. Many of these, like the Michael Reese Hospital, were established by the city's oldest Jewish communities. Mount Sinai is one of the city's best hospitals and is heavily supported by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. The JCFS (Jewish Children & Family Services) offers a variety of services for families with special needs. They additionally provide programs for education, employment and counseling. The Chai Lifeline offers free year-round support to children and families.

Other facilities include the Jewish Healing Network of Chicago, the Jewish AIDS Network and the Center for Jewish Genetics. Medical centers such as these are largely supported by community-based organizations and private donors. Philanthropy has continued to be a major part of the Jewish Federation following their merge with the Jewish Welfare Fund in 1974. Several of Chicago's Jewish organizations and programs receive funding from the Federation every year.

In a city as large as Chicago and with one of the largest Jewish communities in the United States, there is no shortage of Jewish media. Across all channels, from television and radio to newspapers and online magazines, are several sources of Jewish news and entertainment. Circulating throughout Chicago is the Chicago Jewish Star, a twice-monthly newspaper. There is also Schmooze Magazine, a student-run Jewish publication. Online periodicals include Chicago Jewish News, Oy! Chicago, Kveller and JUF News.