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One of the most representative and historically significant Jewish communities in the U.S., dating back to the late 18th century. The first synagogue was founded in 1830. German Jews settled in the 1840’s. During the Civil War, Baltimore Jewry was divided between North and South. Reform Rabbi David Einhorn supported the North, and had to flee the city, which was part of the South.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, a large influx of east European Jews settled in Baltimore. The poet Israel Efros founded the Baltimore Hebrew College (later Baltimore Hebrew University), and the Baltimore Jewish Times, one of the finest Jewish weeklies in America, was started in 1919. Baltimore became a stronghold of Zionism, with leaders like Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah. In 1933, the Ner Israel Rabbinical College was founded, making Baltimore a center of Orthodox Judaism. American culture was enriched by such Baltimorean Jews as Gertrude Stein, who helped shape the literary style of writers like Ernest Hemingway, and the poet Karl Shapiro. The novel Exodus, by Baltimorean writer Leon Uris, had a positive impact on explaining the birth of the State of Israel to the world.

Today, Baltimore has a well organized and diversified Jewish community of 92,000, with several day schools, and the full range of Jewish communal services.

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