Images in America: Jewish Milwaukee
Arcadia Publishing (April 3, 2006)
The Jewish community has a distinguished heritage in Milwaukee, and Jewish immigrants were an integral part of the pioneer fabric of the area. The 1840s saw the first large influx of Jews to Wisconsin, primarily to urban Milwaukee. They quickly became leaders in business, politics, and the arts. Milwaukee’s Congregation Emanu-El B'ne Jeshurun, founded in 1856, was one of the state’s first congregations and is still going strong. Over the years, social clubs, arts associations, women’s benevolent societies, and political organizations were formed. Milwaukee’s distinguished residents have included Victor Louis Berger, who was America’s first Socialist congressman, and Golda Meir, who became prime minister of Israel. Today Sen. Herb Kohl, owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, is proud of his city ties. The story of Milwaukee’s Jewish community offers a view of an intense group of citizens who cared about their hometown and their ancestral homeland, as well as civic and social causes.