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"A Wienerwurst with each Drink" - Sign of Bar, Cincinnati, 1890s

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"A wienerwurst with each drink" - sign of bar owned by Tedeschi and partner. German Jews often settled near
non-Jewish German immigrants, thus creating large
self-sufficient German-speaking areas.
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA 1890s.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot)
ID Number:
213977
Image Purchase: For more details about image purchasing Click here, make sure you have the photo ID number (as appear above)
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Cincinnati

The oldest Jewish community west of the Allegheny Mountains. A center of American Reform Judaism.

Joseph Jonas, who arrived in Cincinnati from England in 1817, was the first identifiable Jew to settle in Cincinnati. Two years later, in 1819, he was joined by two others from England; that year for the High Holidays the four Englishmen in Cincinnati joined with David Israel Johnson of Brookville Indiana and held the first Jewish service west of the Appalachian Mountains. Jewish settlers continued to arrive, mostly from England, and High Holiday services continued to be held. The first congregation in the city, Bene Israel (later renamed the Rockdale Temple), was officially organized in 1824 when the number of Jews living in Cincinnati had reached 20; in 1836, after 12 years of meeting for services in rented rooms, they dedicated a new synagogue building. S

Subsequently, many Jews from Germany began settling in Cincinnati. In 1840 German immigrants founded B'nai Yeshurun (also known as the Isaac M. Wise Temple and the Plum Street Temple; the congregation includes two synagogue buildings in two separate locations: the Isaac M. Wise Center, and the Plum Street Temple). Its prayer style was classically German, and the congregation eventually officially became Reform. Subsequently, a number of German Orthodox congregations were also established: Ahabath Achim (1848), Sherith Israel (1855); another Orthodox congregation, Adath Israel (1847), was established by Eastern European immigrants. Ahabath Achim and Sherith Israel became more liberal and merged in 1907, becoming the Reading Road Temple. The Reading Road Temple, in turn, would later merge with the Wise Temple in 1931.

Rabbi Isaac M. Wise's leadership of B'nai Yeshurun (1854-1900) and Rabbi Max Lilienthal's of Bene Israel (1855-1882) turned Cincinnati into a powerful center for the Reform Movement. All of the pre-Civil War congregations joined the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), which was founded in Cincinnati in 1873, though Adath Israel withdrew in 1886 and eventually became a Conservative congregation.

In the 1840s, Bene Israel established the first religious school and Talmud Torah, both of which were short-lived. That same decade, B'nai Yeshurun opened a day school, Hebrew Institute, which was soon supplanted by Talmud Yelodim Institute, which operated as a day school until 1868. Bene Israel's Noyoth School, established in 1855, soon merged with Talmud Yelodim. In later years all of the major synagogues maintained religious schools and a Talmud Torah was reopened. Nevertheless, the day school movement did not become a significant force within the community until 1947, when the Orthodox Chofetz Chaim School (later renamed the Cincinnati Hebrew Day School) was founded. The Yavneh Day School opened in 1952 and joined the community's Hebrew Schools system, which itself arose from a merger of the Talmud Torah, Beth Am Hebrew Institute, and a number of religious schools that had formally been congregational schools. The Bureau of Jewish Education, which, to varying degrees, was a meeting point for which all of the city's religious and day schools, began operations in 1925. There were also developments in higher education. Zion College was short-lived (1855-1857), but Hebrew Union College, which was founded in 1875, became a major center of higher Jewish learning and Reform rabbinical training.

Cincinnati Jewish newspapers have included "The Weekly Israelite," which started in 1854, the German-language weekly "Deborah" (1855-1900), "Sabbath Visitor (1874-1893), and the weekly "Every Friday" (1927-1965). "The Weekly Israelite' and "Deborah" were both founded by Rabbi Isaac M. Wise whose influence remains a force within Cincinnati's Jewish community.

A Benevolent Society was founded in 1838 and Jewish Hospital, the first Jewish hospital in the US, was founded in 1850. By the 1890s numerous philanthropic organizations had been created and established, uniting in 1898 under the umbrella organization United Jewish Charities (which would later be renamed Associated Jewish Agencies, or AJA). Later, in 1967, the Jewish Welfare Fund merged with AJA to form the Jewish Federation. Two agencies to serve the Jewish elderly in the Reform community were founded in 1914, along with an Orthodox home for the elderly. The Jewish Community Center began operations in 1932, acting as a successor to the YMHA-Settlement House Movement of the previous generation. There were also two Jewish country clubs, Losantiville and Crest Hills.

Jews have been represented in nearly every sector of Cincinnati's economy. During the mid-1800s they were especially prominent in the garment and distilling industries. B'nai Yeshurun's impressive Plum St. Temple building, dedicated in 1866, reflects the level of prosperity attained by Cincinnati's Jews during the Civil War era. During the 20th century Jews have been prominent in merchandising, real estate, construction, law, and medicine; one of America's leading mercantile empires, Federated Department Stores Inc., which later merged with other companies to form Macy's, was controlled by Cincinnati's Lazarus family, whose patriarch was Fred Lazarus Jr. The Jews of Cincinnati have also been active politically and in the local judiciary.

Jewish residential movement reflects Cincinnati's growth as a city. What had been the center of the community during the 19th century in the downtown west end, shifted in the early 1900s to Walnut Hills and Avondale. Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, it shifted yet again, to Roselawn and Amberley. By the mid-1960s, Cincinnati Jewry had become a largely upper-middle class suburban community, and in 1968 they numbered 28,000.

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"A Wienerwurst with each Drink" - Sign of Bar, Cincinnati, 1890s
"A wienerwurst with each drink" - sign of bar owned by Tedeschi and partner. German Jews often settled near
non-Jewish German immigrants, thus creating large
self-sufficient German-speaking areas.
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA 1890s.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot)
Image Purchase: For more details about image purchasing Click here, make sure you have the photo ID number (as appear above)

Cincinnati

Cincinnati

The oldest Jewish community west of the Allegheny Mountains. A center of American Reform Judaism.

Joseph Jonas, who arrived in Cincinnati from England in 1817, was the first identifiable Jew to settle in Cincinnati. Two years later, in 1819, he was joined by two others from England; that year for the High Holidays the four Englishmen in Cincinnati joined with David Israel Johnson of Brookville Indiana and held the first Jewish service west of the Appalachian Mountains. Jewish settlers continued to arrive, mostly from England, and High Holiday services continued to be held. The first congregation in the city, Bene Israel (later renamed the Rockdale Temple), was officially organized in 1824 when the number of Jews living in Cincinnati had reached 20; in 1836, after 12 years of meeting for services in rented rooms, they dedicated a new synagogue building. S

Subsequently, many Jews from Germany began settling in Cincinnati. In 1840 German immigrants founded B'nai Yeshurun (also known as the Isaac M. Wise Temple and the Plum Street Temple; the congregation includes two synagogue buildings in two separate locations: the Isaac M. Wise Center, and the Plum Street Temple). Its prayer style was classically German, and the congregation eventually officially became Reform. Subsequently, a number of German Orthodox congregations were also established: Ahabath Achim (1848), Sherith Israel (1855); another Orthodox congregation, Adath Israel (1847), was established by Eastern European immigrants. Ahabath Achim and Sherith Israel became more liberal and merged in 1907, becoming the Reading Road Temple. The Reading Road Temple, in turn, would later merge with the Wise Temple in 1931.

Rabbi Isaac M. Wise's leadership of B'nai Yeshurun (1854-1900) and Rabbi Max Lilienthal's of Bene Israel (1855-1882) turned Cincinnati into a powerful center for the Reform Movement. All of the pre-Civil War congregations joined the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), which was founded in Cincinnati in 1873, though Adath Israel withdrew in 1886 and eventually became a Conservative congregation.

In the 1840s, Bene Israel established the first religious school and Talmud Torah, both of which were short-lived. That same decade, B'nai Yeshurun opened a day school, Hebrew Institute, which was soon supplanted by Talmud Yelodim Institute, which operated as a day school until 1868. Bene Israel's Noyoth School, established in 1855, soon merged with Talmud Yelodim. In later years all of the major synagogues maintained religious schools and a Talmud Torah was reopened. Nevertheless, the day school movement did not become a significant force within the community until 1947, when the Orthodox Chofetz Chaim School (later renamed the Cincinnati Hebrew Day School) was founded. The Yavneh Day School opened in 1952 and joined the community's Hebrew Schools system, which itself arose from a merger of the Talmud Torah, Beth Am Hebrew Institute, and a number of religious schools that had formally been congregational schools. The Bureau of Jewish Education, which, to varying degrees, was a meeting point for which all of the city's religious and day schools, began operations in 1925. There were also developments in higher education. Zion College was short-lived (1855-1857), but Hebrew Union College, which was founded in 1875, became a major center of higher Jewish learning and Reform rabbinical training.

Cincinnati Jewish newspapers have included "The Weekly Israelite," which started in 1854, the German-language weekly "Deborah" (1855-1900), "Sabbath Visitor (1874-1893), and the weekly "Every Friday" (1927-1965). "The Weekly Israelite' and "Deborah" were both founded by Rabbi Isaac M. Wise whose influence remains a force within Cincinnati's Jewish community.

A Benevolent Society was founded in 1838 and Jewish Hospital, the first Jewish hospital in the US, was founded in 1850. By the 1890s numerous philanthropic organizations had been created and established, uniting in 1898 under the umbrella organization United Jewish Charities (which would later be renamed Associated Jewish Agencies, or AJA). Later, in 1967, the Jewish Welfare Fund merged with AJA to form the Jewish Federation. Two agencies to serve the Jewish elderly in the Reform community were founded in 1914, along with an Orthodox home for the elderly. The Jewish Community Center began operations in 1932, acting as a successor to the YMHA-Settlement House Movement of the previous generation. There were also two Jewish country clubs, Losantiville and Crest Hills.

Jews have been represented in nearly every sector of Cincinnati's economy. During the mid-1800s they were especially prominent in the garment and distilling industries. B'nai Yeshurun's impressive Plum St. Temple building, dedicated in 1866, reflects the level of prosperity attained by Cincinnati's Jews during the Civil War era. During the 20th century Jews have been prominent in merchandising, real estate, construction, law, and medicine; one of America's leading mercantile empires, Federated Department Stores Inc., which later merged with other companies to form Macy's, was controlled by Cincinnati's Lazarus family, whose patriarch was Fred Lazarus Jr. The Jews of Cincinnati have also been active politically and in the local judiciary.

Jewish residential movement reflects Cincinnati's growth as a city. What had been the center of the community during the 19th century in the downtown west end, shifted in the early 1900s to Walnut Hills and Avondale. Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, it shifted yet again, to Roselawn and Amberley. By the mid-1960s, Cincinnati Jewry had become a largely upper-middle class suburban community, and in 1968 they numbered 28,000.