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 MazorGuide Home> Jewish Communities > USA >

Jewish Communities in the United States, an Overview
California | Connecticut | Florida | Illinois | Maryland | Massachusetts | New Jersey | New York | Ohio | Pennsylvania

Jews have been present in the United States of America as early as the 17th century, though at first in very small  numbers, mostly of Sephardic origins. Large-scale Jewish immigration began in the mid eighteen hundreds, when many Ashkenazi Jews from Germany arrived in the United States. By 1880, the Jewish population in the USA was about 250,000 strong. Starting then and until the mid-nineteen twenties, when the immigration act of 1924 imposed quotas, over two-million Jews escaping persecution, pogroms and anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe and Russia, came to America, mostly settling on the northeastern seaboard (New York and New Jersey).

As Jews immigrated to the United state, support networks emerged, based in many small synagogues where Jewish of same origins congregated. However, the Jewish population that came to America was urged to assimilate and integrate into the wider American culture, and become part of American life. 500,000 American Jews, half of all Jewish males between 18 and 50, fought in World War II, and after the war Jewish families joined the new trend of suburbanization. Over the years Jews became increasingly assimilated, many rejecting their heritage resulting in secularization and intermarriage. Yet, at the same time, new Jewish community centers were formed, enrollment in Jewish schools and Yeshivot grew, and synagogue affiliation tripled.

Following the Holocaust that saw the destruction of the European Jewish community, the United States became home to the largest Jewish population in the world. Today, it is second to Israel, as the Jewish population growth slowed due to intermarriage, now exceeding 50%, assimilation, and many Jews identifying themselves as American rather than Jewish.

Most American Jews today live in major metropolitan areas including New York, South Florida, Philadelphia, California, New England, Ohio, and Illinois.

Jewish Communities - California
Like many Americans, Jews headed west in the 1849 Gold Rush, and integrated rapidly. Yet Jewish life thrives in California.
Jewish Communities - Connecticut
The first permanent Jewish community was established in Connecticut in 1843, but today there are a growing number.
Jewish Communities - Florida
In 1763, Jews first came to Pensacola Florida. Today,  Florida's Jewish population is of the largest in the country.
Jewish Communities - Illinois
Jews have been in Chicago since the 1830.  Though Illinois' Jewish population is declining, it's still the fourth largest in the USA.
Jewish Communities - Maryland
Some records show Jewish life in Maryland started in the 17th century.  Today its over 200,000 strong.
Jewish Communities - Massachusetts
Most of the Jewish population in Massachusetts can be found in Boston and Brookline, and of course in the University towns.
Jewish Communities - New Jersey
Jews have called New Jersey home since the late 17th century, and currently make up almost 6 percent of the state's residents..
Jewish Communities - New York
In 1654 Congregation Shearith Israel was the first congregation to form in New York, which today is global center for Jewish life.
Jewish Communities - Ohio
Jews first settled in Ohio in 1817 when Joseph Jonas, the pioneer, came from England and made his home in Cincinnati.
Jewish Communities - Pennsylvania
Jonas Aaron was the earliest (1703) Jewish resident of Phila-delpia was. Today PA is home to more than a quarter million Jews..


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