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Religious Records Research at the Archives & Library of the Ohio History Connection


Jews lived in Ohio from the state's creation in 1803. Starting in the 1830s, many German Jews settled in central Ohio, including Columbus, Chillicothe, and Lancaster. During the late 1800s and the early 1900s, most Jewish immigrants settled in either the Cincinnati or Cleveland area, developing their own communities outside the cities. Cincinnati was the largest city in Ohio and the center of the Jewish community in the state. It was not until 1824 that Jews in Cincinnati established their first congregation, and built their first synagogue in 1836. Most Ohio Jews at this time followed the Reform Jewish tradition, though Cleveland had both Reform and Orthodox temples by the late 1800s. Hebrew Union College was established in Cincinnati in 1875. Zanesville, Dayton, and Piqua also had established Jewish communities.Thousands more Jews arrived in Ohio during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, fleeing economic deprivation and religious persecution in Europe. Many Russian and Eastern European Jews came to Central Ohio to escape Russian programs.

Below are lists of select archival and library materials related to the Jewish faith, available for research at the Ohio History Connection Archives & Library. Review the catalog links below, or explore our Online Collections Catalog using a specific church name or related search terms for more information [example search terms: "Jews in Ohio", "Jews -- Ohio", "Synagogues -- Ohio", "Jews -- Ohio -- Periodicals", "Jewish periodicals -- Ohio"].

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