, The history of the Jews in southern Florida dates back to the early 19th century. Today, the community is very successful and prosperous. Many South Floridian 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.

First mentions

In 1836, Abraham C. Myers, a West Point graduate and a South Floridian Jew, serves as Army Quartermaster for the Seminole Wars, 1835-1842. Ft. Myers is named to honor him.[1]

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.[2] B'nai Zion's building was built in 1969, and it adheres to Conservative Judaism, though it has a Liberal slant.[3] 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 re-named as Beth David. In 1953, Abe Aronovitz became the first and only 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

In 1943, the first of 15 Jewish mayors of Miami Beach, Mitchell Wolfson, was elected to office.

Other history

Jewish religious observance in South Florida

There are nearly 189 synagogues and congregations built to serve over 500,000 Jews in South Florida.[4]

Orthodox Judaism

There are approximately 77 Orthodox synagogues and congregations in South Florida.[5]

Conservative Judaism

There are approximately 60 Conservative synagogues and congregations in South Florida.[6]

Reform Judaism

There are approximately 40 Reform synagogues and congregations in South Florida.[7]

Reconstructionist Judaism

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).[8]

Chabad in southern Florida

Chabad of Boca Raton


Chabad of Boca Raton, Florida.

Chabad of Boca Raton is a Chabad house located in Boca Raton founded in 1989, the present building was erected in 1999.[9] In 1990 city officials permitted it to erect a menorah in Sanborn Square, a city park.[10][11][12]

Significant South Floridian communities and their Jewish populations

Prominent South Floridian Jews

See also


  9. The Rebbe's Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch, Sue Fishkoff, Random House, 2009, Chapter 2, Chabad Hits South Florida.
  10. Boca Allosw Park Display of Menorah; New Stance Staves Off Suit by Jewish Group, December 11, 1990, Sun Sentinel, Elaine A, Ellis.
  11. It's Beginning to Look...., Editorial, Miami Herald,December 13, 1990.
  12. Jewish Group Sues Boca Over Display Lubavitchers Want, South Florida Sun - Sentinel, December 8, 1990.

External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article History of the Jews in southern Florida, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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