People of Allen County, Indiana

Jewish People

Beginning in the late 1700's, Jewish fur traders lived in the Fort Wayne area. The first known Jewish resident was John Jacob Hayes, appointed by President James Monroe to serve as Indian Agent. He lived in Fort Wayne from 1820-1823. Jewish immigrants from Germany began to arrive in Fort Wayne around 1830. They worked as peddlers, merchants and craftsmen. By 1848, there was a sufficient number of Jews to form the first Jewish congregation in Indiana, The Society for Visiting the Sick and Burying the Dead. In 1861, the congregation changed its name to the Synagogue of Unity and Peace (Congregation Achduth Vesholom), affiliating with the Reform Movement in May 1874. Read the rest copied February 13, 2017 from Our History The Fort Wayne Jewish Community on Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne website. See Allen County Jewish History on IN.gov.

  1. The First Jewish Community by Tom Castaldi published March 27, 2014 in the History Center Notes & Queries blog.
  2. Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society, minutes 1894-1916, Fort Wayne, IN on Archive.org.
  3. B'nai Jacob Synagogue Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/138397119557025/. Was discussed in the Synagogue celebrating tumultuous 100 years by Frank Gray October 23, 2012 in the Journal-Gazette newspaper.
  4. Rifkin Campus at 5200, 5200 Old Mill Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46807, website: https://templecav.org/; Rifkin Campus at 5200 https://templecav.org/rifkin-campus/

    July 30, 2023 post shared by Northeast Indiana Jewish Genealogy Society on Facebook

    Interesting history from the Indiana Jewish Historical Society:

    July 29, 2023 post by Mike Brown on Facebook:

    Did you know in 1840, nearly half of Bavaria's Jewish Community lived in the City of Furth? This explains why Nusach Furth, or the Prayer rituals of the city of Furth, were selected for Indiana's first Jewish Congregation, Achduth Vesholom in Fort Wayne, many of its founders being Bavarian Jews who immigrated to Indiana in the 1840s. (The First President of the Congregation, Frederic Nirdlinger, was from Swabia, and his Nusach (Jewish Prayer rituals) still has yet to be clarified and determined) .

    Organized as a "Society for Visiting the Sick and Burying the Dead." In 1848, the society bought the old burial ground adjoining what is now McCulloch Park. In 1848 the society officially organized the first Jewish congregation in the state of Indiana and took the name the Synagogue of Unity and Peace. This was originally an Orthodox German congregation, and all records were kept in German for the first thirty years. Services were held in the home of Frederic Nirdlinger until 1859 when the old German Methodist Church at Wayne and Harrison streets was purchased. In 1861 the name of the congregation was changed to Congregation Achduth Vesholom. In 1917 a third temple was built at the corner of Wayne Street and Fairfield Avenue. Designed by Alvin M. Strauss the current temple building was dedicated in 1961. Records from 1848 to 1973 have been copied and are available at the temple. A history of the congregation is available at the Allen County Public Library. Volumes 1-3 in German. Madge Rothschild Resource Center is new Jewish center to be for 'whole community' by Rosa Salter Rodriquez published April 27, 2017 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.

    Achduth Vesholom Congregation of Fort Wayne, Indiana, minutes, Volume 2, 1865-1876 (1900) v. 1-3 in German: Constitution und Nebengesetze by Achduth Vesholom Congregation (Fort Wayne, Ind.) on Archive.org.

  5. Family History Today: Using Facial Recognition Tools to Identify Unnamed Ancestors November 13, 2020 by Center for Jewish History on YouTube
    In contrast to vital records, family photos do not impart clear, standardized information and have always posed a genealogical challenge. In 2019, amateur genealogist and data scientist Scott Genzer developed a technique for using free online facial recognition tools to identify people in photographs, and has successfully applied it to historical photos of the Jewish community of his ancestral town, Mielec, Poland, among others. In this presentation, he will offer a detailed demonstration of this technique and explain how it may help you break through some of your genealogical brick walls.
    This program was sponsored by the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute. It was supported, in part, by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

  6. Jewish families find roots Local group brings to town experts in field by Blake Sebring discussed forming a Jewish genealogy group that grew to 70 members and over 600 people attending online presentations published December 9, 2021 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  7. Jewish immigration to Indiana, 1840-1920s posted March 19, 2022 in the Archives of Hoosier History Live podcast on Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM states: Our guide for a statewide exploration of Jewish immigration will be Michael J. Brown, executive director of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society. Michael is the host of IN-Jewish History Podcast, a series that delves into the Hoosier state’s Jewish heritage. He has recently worked for Israeli start-ups and is a board member of Sinai Synagogue in South Bend.
  8. Indiana Jewish Historical Society Publications & Collections About this collection Indiana Jewish History is the annual publication of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society, founded in 1972 to preserve and promote an interest in the Hoosier Jewish community. This set is made available through a collaborative effort with the Indiana Jewish Historical Society and through a grant from the Robert and Toni Bader Charitable Foundation. Additional materials from the Indiana Jewish Historical Society Collection are being added to this digital collection through the collecting efforts of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society, with grant funding made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Indiana State Library. At We Do History online digital collection by the Indiana Historical Society.
  9. April 27, 2022 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    #hoosierjewishhistory
    Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne

    "Women's Hadassah group posed for a photograph around 1915 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Hadassah is a women's Zionist organization. Pictured is: Minnie Weinraub, Esther Komisarow, Mrs. Greshin, Mollie Burxhaum, Dora Zweig, Bessie Meyer, Ann Glotzer, Rose Novtsky, Ann Wagner, and Mary Komisarow."

    Digitized by the Indiana Historical Society Collection
    Hadassah, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, circa 1915

  10. Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Purdue Fort Wayne - The mission of the Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies is to promote public awareness of the Holocaust and other genocides; to encourage and support scholarship, research, and teaching about the Holocaust and genocide; and to promote public participation in efforts to confront contemporary genocide as it occurs. Education Notebook: Purdue Fort Wayne center honored for Holocaust work by Ashley Sloboda December 5, 2022 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  11. Five questions for Steve Carr, director, Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, PFW December 12, 2022 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
  12. January 11, 2023 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    Photo labeled Fort Wayne Israel Bonds Drive in 1955! showing B. Ress, Ruth Ress, Isidor Hassan, Myrtle Shine, ? Etta Sheray, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., Jules Lederman, Rivah Meyers, Rabbi Weller, Bernie Fine, and Vera Weller.

  13. December 12, 2022 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    #hoosierjewishhistory
    Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne
    Congregation Achduth Vesholom

    As a Jewish immigrant from Czarist Russia, Minette Baum changed how Fort Wayne addressed basic needs in the early 20th Century.

    Drawing on her experiences at Jane Addams’ Hull House in Chicago.

    Baum established a settlement house at her own home at 1313 W. Wayne Street in Fort Wayne. Many of today’s significant local human service agencies can trace their origins to her efforts.

    Minette Baum served as president of the Fort Wayne Zionist District from 1919 to 1935, one of the first women in America to occupy such a position. Baum was also a leader in Hadassah. Her close friend, The late president of Israel, Yitzhak Ben Zvi, called her “the Henrietta Szold of America.

  14. A January 22, 2023 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    Indiana State Association of Bnai Brith Women June 1948

  15. March 22, 2023 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    In the early twentieth century, Jewish philanthropic organizations provided newcomers with aid and employment opportunities, forever changing the cultural landscape of the U.S. as they relocated immigrants from New York to cities across the country like Indianapolis, Evansville, and Fort Wayne. While the newcomers were aided by organizations like the Jewish Federation, these same organizations often encouraged the erasure of cultural markers and traditions in an attempt to avoid increasing antisemitism in Indiana.

    Learn more with our new #IndianaHistoryBlog post: https://blog.history.in.gov/jewish-immigrant.../

     

    March 26, 2023 post added:

    Jewish Industrial Removal Office. (2023, February 16). In Wikipedia. Jewish Industrial Removal Office

    Link to our Podcast Episode about the IRO in Indiana with Dr. Jack Glazier: IN Jewish History

     

  16. April 20, 2023 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    #hoosierjewishhistory

    Hadassah around 1915 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Pictured is: Minnie Weinraub, Esther Komisarow, Mrs. Greshin, Mollie Burxhaum, Dora Zweig, Bessie Meyer, Ann Glotzer, Rose Novitsky, Ann Wagner, and Mary Komisarow.

    Digitized by the Indiana Historical Society

  17. June 30, 2023 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    #hoosierjewishhistory

    Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne

    Jolly Juniors, pictured below, was a children's activities program spearheaded in the 1950s by Joe Levine, Executive Director of the Fort Wayne Jewish Federation (And later the first Executive Director of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society). It was formed at the height of the baby boom, and it was a family and children's favorite program which engaged Jewish children in fun activities such as painting and other crafts.

  18. October 21, 2023 post by Congregation Achduth Vesholom on Facebook:

    The Temple’s own Beth Zweig has an op-ed in this weekend’s Journal Gazette, inviting the Fort Wayne community to take part in Congregration Achduth Vesholom’s 175th Anniversary open house on November 12th.

    Fort Wayne's Jewish tradition: Join in congregation's celebration of 175 years, Beth Zweig, October 21, 2023, in The Journal Gazette newspaper

  19. October 24, 2023 post by Indiana Landmarks on Facebook:

    🧐 Check out this digital resource documenting 66 synagogues that were built across Indiana from 1865 to 2015, developed by the Indiana Jewish Historical Society, Dr. Wendy Soltz, and Ball State University.

    Indiana Humanities and Indiana Landmarks awarded a Historic Preservation Education Grant for the project. The digital map (see Indiana Synagogue Mapping Project Dr. Wendy Soltz • A collaborative project between the Indiana Jewish Historical Society and Ball State University ) highlights each of the synagogues, providing information on the building’s history and status, often with photographs.

    📸: Temple Israel, Terre Haute by Tommy Kleckner; Ahavath Sholom, Ligonier by Evan Hale; Temple Beth-El, Indianapolis from Indiana Landmarks archives; Sons of Israel, South Bend by Lee Lewellen; Temple Beth-El, South Bend by David Frederick⁠

    #indianalandmarks #historicsynagogue

  20. October 31, 2023 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    #hoosierjewishistory

    Congregation Achduth Vesholom

    Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne

    Wishing Congregation Achduth Vesholom of Fort Wayne, Indiana's first Synagogue, founded in 1848, a delighted 175th anniversary. Here is to the next 175 years, Mazal Tov!!!!!

  21. November 20, 2023 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    #hoosierjewishistory

    Congregation Achduth Vesholom

    On this day in Indiana Jewish History in 1859, In Lancaster, PA, Moses Aaron and his wife gave birth to Israel Aaron, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and Hebrew Union College who served as a rabbi at Congregation Achduth Vesholom Fort Wayne, Indiana,

    We cover this historical event in our tribute to Congregation Achduth Vesholom, celebrating its 175th anniversary as the Oldest Synagogue in Indiana. Please click the link below to watch the short video:

    Indiana Jewish Historical Society Celebrating 175 Years of Congregation Achduth Vesholom. November 6, 2023 Indiana Jewish Historical Society on YouTube
    As Indiana's oldest Jewish congregation celebrates its 175th anniversary, we look back to 1848 to, the start of Jewish life in Fort Wayne.

  22. November 22, 2023 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    #hoosierjewishistory

    Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne

    Congregation Achduth Vesholom

    Northeast Indiana Jewish Genealogy Society

    A Birthday is coming up soon! Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ethan Sandler (born December 3, 1972) is an American actor, film producer, and writer known for his role as Jeffrey Brandau on the television series Crossing Jordan. From 2002 to 2007, Ethan Sandler's screen credits include The Chocolate War, Flushed, and The Enigma with a Stigma. He can be heard voicing multiple characters in Disney's 2007 computer-animated film Meet the Robinsons. Acting in The Bourne Supremacy and The Princess Diaries.

    Ethan Sandler. (2023, August 4). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_Sandler

  23. December 14, 2023 post by Congregation Achduth Vesholom on Facebook:

    The Temple offers condolences to the family of long-time member Doris Fogel, 89, who died yesterday. A funeral service will be held on Friday, December 15 at 1:30 p.m. at the Temple, 5200 Old Mill Road, with interment to follow at Lindenwood Cemetery.

    Doris served twice as president of Congregation Achduth Vesholom, from 1990-1992 and 2005-2007. She also was president for six years of the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne prior to becoming its Executive Director.

    She led a remarkable life. She took seriously her role as a Holocaust survivor and felt it was very important that she speak to as many students as possible about the horrors of antisemitism and the Holocaust.

    May her memory be for a blessing.

    Find the link to the full obituary at Doris Fogel Obituary

    The service will be livestreamed at Achduth Vesholom Congregation on YouTube.

    [ Doris Fogel, nee Warschawski, of Northbrook, IL, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on December 13, 2023, She was the wife of the late Sam Fogel. She is survived by her sons Arthur (Susie), Daniel (Deborah), and daughter Deborah Charen (Andrew), and her eight grandchildren, Annie Fogel (28), Lucy Fogel (26), Ellie Fogel (25), Sarah Fogel (23), Johnny Fogel (19), Jacob Charen (26) Emily Charen (24) and Rebecca Charen (22). Doris was born in Berlin, Germany on May 3, 1934. In 1938, at the age of 4, she and her mother escaped the Nazis and found refuge in Shanghai, China, the only place in the world where people could go without a Visa. She immigrated to the U.S. in May 1947. The people that sponsored her and her mother lived in Peoria, Il. and that is where her life in America began. She attended Bradley University and thereafter moved to Chicago. She met her husband, Sam, in Chicago. Sam was from Ft. Wayne where he practiced law for 58 years. Doris worked in her husband's office for 45 years. Upon his retirement Doris joyfully served as the Executive Director of the Ft. Wayne Jewish Federation. ]

  24. December 16, 2023 post by the Northeast Indiana Jewish Genealogy Society on Facebook:

    The Freiburger family is part of our Fort Wayne Jewish Families database.

    December 16, 2023 post on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook

    Freiburger House 2515 Fairfield Avenue - Fort Wayne, Indiana

    ***********************************************************************

    Photographs belonging to the Herman and Sadie Freiburger family of Fort Wayne, Indiana "Herman Freiburger was the son of Leopold and Minna (Steinfeld) Freiburger. Leopold Freiburger was born in 1835 in Wurttemburg, Germany and immigrated to America in 1851. He married Minna Steinfeld on January 10, 1865 in Indiana. Minna was born in 1844 in Darmstadt, Germany and immigrated to American in 1864. The couple had four children: Hattie, Herman, Joseph, and Julius. By the turn of the century, the Freiburgers moved to Ft. Wayne, Indiana from Mt. Carroll, Illinois. Leopold died in 1925."

    Images & Information Source: The Indiana Historical Society

    Freiburger Family Album No. 1 [ 106 pages with lots of family photos in the Indiana Jewish Historical Society Publications and Collections at We Do History digital collection by the Indiana Historical Society]

    Photograph of Herman Freiburger & Sadie (Rothschild) Freiburger Source: The Indiana Historical

  25. December 30, 2023 post by ARCH, Inc. on Facebook:

    We were proud to create a Jewish Heritage Tour as part of Congregation Achduth Vesholom's celebration of its 175th anniversary. 📷: A postcard from the Allen County Public Library Community Album collection showing the 1917 synagogue of the congregation celebrating its 175th anniversary this year at the current Temple on Old Mill Road.

  26. January 5, 2024 post by Indiana Jewish Historical Society on Facebook:

    #hoosierjewishhistory

    Congregation Achduth Vesholom

    Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne

    Photographs belonging to the album of Herman and Sadie Freiburger family of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The photos date from the early to mid-1900s. Society. The family was originally from Wurttemburg, which is today part of Germany.

    This collection was digitized by the Indiana Historical Society. Which can be found below: [ Their link did not work ]

    Freiburger Family Album No. 1 has 106 pages and a Freiburer search finds 33 items on We Do History digital collection by the Indiana Historical Society .

  27. January 25, 2024 post by Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne on Facebook:

    We enjoyed speaking with you today!

    Shared January 25, 2024 post by Wendy Davis for Congress on Facebook:

    Thank you to Rabbi Meir Bargeron and the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne for giving me a tour of the Temple! It was great hearing about their rich history here in Fort Wayne!

Back to top

Page updated: