History of the Jews in southern Florida
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The history of the Jews in South Florida dates back to the early 19th century. Many South Florida Jews are Ashkenazi (descendents of Russian, Polish, and Eastern European ancestry), and many are also Cuban, Brazilian, Latin American (Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Peru), Russian, French, Moroccan, Syrian, Bukharian, and Israeli. There is a significant Sephardic and Mizrachi population as well.
Presently, there are approximately 514,000 Jews living in Southeast Florida.
- 1 Key West, Florida Jewish history
- 2 West Palm Beach, Florida Jewish history
- 3 Miami, Florida Jewish history
- 4 Broward County, Florida Jewish History
- 5 Miami Beach, Florida Jewish History
- 6 Other history
- 7 Jewish religious observance in South Florida
- 8 Chabad in southern Florida
- 9 Significant South Floridian communities and their Jewish populations
- 10 Prominent South Floridian Jews
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Key West, Florida Jewish history
The exact origins of the Key West Jewish Community are not dated, but Jews were first recorded in the city in the 1880s, when the community was organized by Joe Wolfson, Abraham Wolkowsky and Mendell Rippa. It is believed that most settlers were escaping European persecution at the time. Some early settlers were shipwrecked and decided to make a living in the city. In 1887, Congregation B’nai Zion was founded in Key West, Fl. Morris Zion served as its first president. B'nai Zion's building was built in 1969, and it adheres to Conservative Judaism, though it has a Liberal slant. In 1895, Jewish Key West residents supported the independence of Cuba from Spain.
West Palm Beach, Florida Jewish history
Jews first settled in the city of West Palm Beach in 1892.
Miami, Florida Jewish history
Jews first permanently settled in the Miami, Florida area in 1896. In 1907, the first bris occurred in Miami-Dade County. It was for Eddie Cohen. In 1913, B’nai Zion, the first congregation in Miami-Dade County, was founded. It later was renamed as Beth David. In 1953, Abe Aronovitz became the first and only Jewish mayor of Miami.
Broward County, Florida Jewish History
In 1910, Louis Brown was the first Jew to settle in Broward County.
Miami Beach, Florida Jewish History
The first Jewish family to settle in Miami Beach was the Weiss family, Joseph and Jennie and their children, in 1913. They later opened Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant. The first congregation in Miami Beach was Beth Jacob, which was formed in 1927. The congregation built the first synagogue in 1929 (now the Jewish Museum of Florida.) In 1943, the first of 16 Jewish mayors of Miami Beach, Mitchell Wolfson, was elected to office.
- In 1959, approximately 10,000 Cuban Jews sought refuge in South Florida.
- In 1995, the Jewish Museum of Florida opened.
- In 2004, Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, Florida became the first Jewish woman from Florida to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
Jewish religious observance in South Florida
There are approximately 77 Orthodox synagogues and congregations in South Florida.
There are approximately 60 Conservative synagogues and congregations in South Florida.
There are approximately 40 Reform synagogues and congregations in South Florida.
There are three established Reconstructionist synagogues and congregations in South Florida: Congregation Kol Ami (Palm Beach County), Ramat Shalom (Broward County), and Temple Beth Or (Miami-Dade County).
Chabad in southern Florida
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens mission is to bring together the Jewish Community of the greater Palm Beach and Jupiter area and to serve the spiritual, educational and social needs of the community. We accomplish this through classes, social get-togethers, holiday events and more.
Chabad Palm Beach Gardens is a Jewish community center servicing the greater Palm Beach and Jupiter area. Among other stuff we have a weekly Minyan, kosher deli and catering, Hebrew school & kids programs, summer camp, adult classes, Kabbalah lunch and learn, mikvah, loaves of love volunteer group and more. Visit our website http://chabadcenterpalmbeach.com/ for more details
Chabad of Boca Raton
Chabad of Boca Raton is a Chabad house located in Boca Raton founded in 1989, the present building was erected in 1999. In 1990 city officials permitted it to erect a menorah in Sanborn Square, a city park.
Significant South Floridian communities and their Jewish populations
- Broward County, Florida: approximately 234,000 Jews live in all of Broward County.
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida: 24,377 Jews live in Fort. Lauderdale.
- Pembroke Pines, Florida: approximately 19,988 Jews live in Pembroke Pines.
- Weston, Florida: approximately 18,000 Jews live in Weston.
- Plantation, Florida approximately 11,275 Jews live in Plantation.
- Davie, Florida approximately 11,228 Jews live in Davie.
- South Palm Beach Metropolitan Area, Florida: approximately 122,000 Jews live in all of South Palm Beach (Boca Raton and Delray Beach).
- Boca Raton, Florida: Approximately 64,660 Jews live in Boca Raton.
- Delray Beach, Florida: Approximately 57,340 Jews live in Delray Beach.
- West Palm Beach Metropolitan Area, Florida: approximately 94,000 Jews live in West Palm Beach (Palm Beach County from Boynton Beach to Jupiter).
- Miami Metropolitan Area, Florida: approximately 113,000 Jews live in Miami.
- Miami Beach, Florida: Approximately 15,000 Jews live in Miami Beach.
- Aventura, Florida
- Tampa Bay County, Florida: approximately 25,000 Jews live in Tampa Bay County.
- Fort Myers, Florida
- Key West, Florida
Prominent South Floridian Jews
- Col. Abraham C. Myers
- Former Florida Governor David Sholtz
- Former Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz
- Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz
- Founder of Wometco Theatres and former Miami Beach mayor Mitchell Wolfson
- The Rebbe's Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch, Sue Fishkoff, Random House, 2009, Chapter 2, Chabad Hits South Florida.
- Boca Allosw Park Display of Menorah; New Stance Staves Off Suit by Jewish Group, December 11, 1990, Sun Sentinel, Elaine A, Ellis.
- It's Beginning to Look...., Editorial, Miami Herald,December 13, 1990.
- Jewish Group Sues Boca Over Display Lubavitchers Want, South Florida Sun - Sentinel, December 8, 1990.