Welcome to Famous Connecticut Jews Wiki. If you are interested in Judaism, Connecticut, or both, you've come to the right place! And if you're not, then it's time to get you interested.
Connecticut Jewish History
Jews have been in Connecticut since 1659, when a David the Jew (creative naming, huh?) was fined for illegal peddling in a Hartford court. From that point on, miniscule numbers of Jews turned up here and there in the Nutmeg State, despite Connecticut's 1662 charter banning Jews, as well as Catholics and heretics. However, by 1788, a stretch of State Street in Hartford was nicknamed "Jew Street" because of the many Jews that resided there. Jews also lived in New Haven and Norwalk, among others. In 1818, however, the charter was replaced with a new state constitution that gave Jews the right to vote and be voted into office- but not to congregate for worship. Despite this, Congregation Mishkan Israel was formed in New Haven in 1840- Connecticut's first synagogue. It now is in Hamden, and is the oldest synagogue in New England.
Jews officially got the right to form synagogues in 1843, spurring the formation of Congregation Beth Israel in Hartford (now in West Hartford). These synagogues were formed by and consisted of German Orthodox Jews. This soon changed, however. In the ensuing decades, the Reform movement spread up and down the East Coast, and many synagogues in Connecticut made the switch. Another change came after the Civil War, when the wave of German-Jewish emigration thinned by the number of Jews immigrating from Russia, Poland, and other Eastern European countries increased. By the turn of the century, about 6,000 Jews lived in Connecticut, and every major Connecticut city, from Bridgeport to New London (and most in between), had a synagogue.
In the 20th century, the scene changed further as immigration peaked in the 1920s, then gradually slowed after. Meanwhile, there were now myriad denominations of synagogues, from Orthodox to Reconstructionist, and most of them had followed the path of post-WWII Jews and moved from cities to suburbs. The community was under threat, too, from the outside (the Holocaust) and inside (intermarriage). Today, almost every town or neighboring town in Connecticut has a Jewish organization, whether it be synagogue, Jewish community center, yeshiva, or other institution. Jews are centered around the big cities, like Hartford and New Haven, and in Fairfield County, due its proximity to New York City, America's Jewish haven. In 2018, about 117,850 Jews lived in Connecticut.
Rules of Adding
We're a collaborative community website that anyone, including you, can build and expand. Wikis like this one depend on readers getting involved and adding content. Click the "ADD NEW PAGE" or "EDIT" button at the top of any page to get started.
HOWEVER, these rules must be followed:
- The person you add had to have a.) been born in Connecticut or b.) lived in Connecticut for a substantial amount of time (5 years is a good rule of thumb.) If they lived in an apartment in Waterbury for three weeks, that doesn't count.
- Use an actual celebrity, not your aunt or your barber or some schmuck. It can be anyone from a scientist to a singer, but at least a celebrity.
- Our definition of Jewish is someone who identifies as Jewish or practices Judaism. This is not only 100% Orthodox Jews, but also Reform Jews, half-Jews by birth and converts to Judaism- as long as they are Jewish. If they were born half-Jewish, half-Christian and practice Buddhism, for example, then they are out of the running. (Sorry, Oliver Stone. Not that your anti-Semitic comments helped. Anyways...)
- Please don't disobey these rules and give us Yoda or whatnot. Then we'll have to weed through the wiki and take it out.
- All profiles must use the original format. Check the Joe Lieberman and Sol LeWitt profiles for examples.
- Don't put swears, or ethnic slurs, or lewd pictures, or anything like that in the profile. It's not cool or funny, and we'll delete it right away.
- Have fun! (Without disobeying the above rules.)
INDEX OF PAGES
Feldman, Abraham J.
the Jew, David