Women’s Labor Zionist Organization. Na’amat has branches in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Mexico, Peru, Spain, and Uruguay. Its largest constituency is in Israel, while the second largest is in the U.S.

Na’amat USA. Na’amat USA is a 50,000-member volunteer organization of clubs throughout the country which help support the work of Na’amat in Israel and who implement domestic programs, including advancing the rights and status of women. These programs build a better America, a more secure Israel, and a fuller life for women and children everywhere. Na’amat USA educates women on Israel’s strategic alliance with the U.S.; advocates legislation on full employment and social security benefits for women; participates in allied campaigns for Israel; co-sponsors Youth Aliyah; supports Habonim/Dror, the Labor Zionist Youth movement, promotes Zionist educational programs; and aids Jewish, Yiddish, and Hebrew cultural institutions.

Na’amat in Israel. Founded in 1921, Na’amat became the largest women’s organization in Israel. It is committed to a more equitable society for every Israeli citizens and to equal rights for women. To this end, Na’amat operates institutions for women, children, and young people to help narrow the existing social, educational, and cultural gaps.

Day Care. Nearly 33,000 children have been attending Na’amat’s agricultural boarding high schools in Nahal frontier settlements. Eron, Kanot, and Aynot.

Vocational Training. Na’amat’s Timon vocational high schools offer courses, counseling, and job training to disadvantaged Jewish and Arab girls and boys, many of whom are potential dropouts. Women who want to be employed or upgrade their current jobs can choose from hundreds of courses in fields where work is readily available. Na’amat services for Arabs and Druze women foster their personal development, helping them and their families become productive citizens.

Community Centers. At 65 centers located wherever social services are needed in small towns and major cities, most Na’amat activities are found under one roof.

Status of Women. In Israel, Na’amat has responded to every issue important to women, with free legal counsel, Centers for Problems of Violence in Family, pre-release workshops, and Women’s Studies at Haifa University.


Hasidic leader, one of the most remarkable personalities produced by Hasidism. Grandson of the founder of the movement, Israel Baal Shem Tov, Nachman’s unique gifts became evident in childhood. He was still young when followers began to flock to him to listen eagerly to his interpretation of Hasidic philosophy. He taught them to pray joyfully and devote time to contemplation. Aside from his Hasidic works, he created imaginative original fairy tales.

Unlike other Hasidic rabbis, Rabbi Nachman did not establish a dynasty. Followers of his teachings are to be found all over the world, especially in Israel. They revere his memory, marking the anniversaries of his death with special observance.


Literally, Fighting Pioneer Youth. A branch of the Israel Defense Forces formed by young men and women preparing for agricultural life. They spend part of their tour of duty living in frontier settlements.


See Moses Ben Nachman.


Seventh of the minor prophets. The Book of Nahum in the Bible describes in poetic language the downfall of Nineveh and the Assyrian empire. Excavations of Nineveh make it evident that the prophet knew well the city whose destruction he painted so vividly.


See Tannaim.


Proper Names. In biblical times, a name expressed a thought or emotion. In the story of Creation, Adam named his wife Eve, or Havah, meaning “life” in Hebrew, because she was the “mother of all living.” When Rachel bore her first son, she named him Joseph, Hebrew for “he will add,” saying, “The Lord will add to me another son.”

Sometimes a name was the compound of two related words. The Hebrew Ab, meaning “father,” was combined with a variety of words: Abishai, Father-of-a-gift; Abner, Father-of-light; Abraham, Father-of-multitudes; and Absalom, Father-of-peace. The Hebrew Ah, or “brother,” was variously fused to make: Ahijah, Brother-of-God; Ahinadab, Brother-of-nobility; and Ahitub, Brother-of-goodness. Ben, Hebrew for “son,” is part of Benjamin, Son-of-the-right-hand or Son-of-good-fortune, and Reuben, Behold-a-son; while Bat, or “daughter,” is in Bathsheba, Daughter-of -the-oath. Often the divine names El, IAH, Jeho, and Shaddai were contained in proper names. El was combined to make Eldad, Beloved-of-God; Elkanah, God-created; Bezalel, In-the-shadow-of-God; and Israel, Warrior-of-God. Most familiar is the use of Iah, as in Isaiah, Help-of-God; and Jeremiah, Whom-God-raised-up. Jeho is found in the names Jehoiadah, Whom-God-favors; Joab, God-desired; and Jonathan, God-given. Finally, Shaddai was used to make Ammishaddai, Kindred-of-God; and Zurishaddai, God-protected.

People were also named after animals and plants: Arieh, Lion; Deborah, Bee; Jonah, Dove; Rachel, Ewe; Tamar, Palm Tree. The custom of naming children after deceased relatives, especially grandparents, was adopted after the Babylonian exile; later, among the Hasidim it was customary to name the boy after a deceased tzaddik, a Hasidic rabbi. Sephardic Jews name their children after living grandparents; among Reform Jews the son often bears the father’s name with the addition of Junior, as among the Christians.

The use of foreign names first found in the later biblical period (e.g., Esther derived from Ishtar, Mordecai from Marduk) became more prevalent in Talmudic and medieval times. Some of the names in Jewish history that bear witness to contact with Greek and Roman civilizations are Antigonus, Symachus, Tarphon, Marcus, Justus, and Titus. The Greek name Alexander was shortened in time to Sander and Sender, while Phoebus became Feivel or Feivish, names that persist in Yiddish to this day. Beginning with the Greek-Hellenistic period, when the records show us Judah-Aristobulus, Salome-Alexandra, Simon-Peter, and Saul-Paul, dual names, one Jewish and the other non-Jewish, became popular under the influence of foreign cultures.

Today, Jewish children as a rule receive one name typical of the country in which they live and one Yiddish or Hebrew name. The tendency is to retain a likeness in sound to the Jewish name: Arthur-Aaron, Hyman-Hayim, Bella-Beile, and Rose-Reizel. A boy’s Hebrew name is usually bestowed at the circumcision ceremony, while a girl is named soon after birth. Among German Jews, the giving of the civic name was marked by the so-called Hollekreisch ceremony on the fourth Sabbath after birth. The first child is named after someone in the father’s family; the second child after someone in the mother’s. Sometimes a child is given two Hebrew or “Jewish” names to satisfy the wishes of both parents.

The influence of the Kabbalah is felt in the naming of children. People who have been dangerously ill are given additional names such as Hayim for men and Hayah for women. Hope for good health is expressed by the name Raphael, “God heals.” Azriel, “God is my help,” invokes divine aid, and Alter or Alte, “Old One,” expresses the wish for a long life. Yiddish contains the largest variety of male and female names adopted from the Hebrew and European languages. Thus, the Hebrew Brakhah becomes Brokhe in Yiddish, Israel becomes Isser, Jacob, Koppel, Mordecai, Motel, Rebbeca, Rive, and Zipporah, Feiga (one Hebrew, the other Yiddish for bird). French and Spanish names also became Yiddishized: Belle becomes Beile, and Esperanza, Sprinze. The Italian name Angelo turns up as Anshel, and Benedetto, Bendet. A few German transformations are Braun to Bryna, Enoch to Henach, Hirsch to Hertz, Freude to Frade, Fradl, or Freidl. From Czech Bohdanka becomes Badane and Benes Beinish. The Russian Dobra becomes Dobre in Yiddish, Khvala, Khvoles, and Zlata, Zlate; the Polish Czarna becomes Charne.

Among Yemenite and other Arabic-speaking Jews, the influence of Arab names is apparent, e.g., Aminah, Asisah, Barhun, Dunash, Faradi, Gamilah, Hassan, Masudah, Nogema, Yahiah, and Yaish. Under the influence of Zionism, the use of biblical names has increased, and new Hebrew names have developed, particularly in the State of Israel. For boys, new names are Amikam, My-people-have-risen; Arnon, Torrent; Eran, Awakened; Raanan, Verdant; Shaanan, Peaceable; Uzzi, My-strength; and Yigal, God-will-redeem. New names for girls include Adinah, Delicate or Noble; Aviva, Spring; Geulah, Redemption; Nitza, Blossom; Nurit, Light; Tikvah, Hope; Zahavah, Goldie. Zionah and Galilah are adaptations of Israel place names.

In the 19th century laws prohibiting Jews to use non-Jewish names were in force in Prussia, Bohemia, and Tsarist Russia. A decree in Nazi Germany, published in August 1938, suggested the use of 276 typical Jewish names (185 for males and 91 for females) for Jewish children born after that date. Among these were such humiliating male names as Ahab and Ahasuerus, wicked biblical kings; Assur, the nation that defeated Israel; Chamor, Esau, Korah, Laban, and Lot, ignoble biblical personalities; Moab, another enemy of Israel; and Orev, a crow. Two wicked queens, Athalaiah, Jezebel, and the ludicrous Chinke and Driesel were Nazi-prescribed names for females. Under this decree, Jewish males and females were ordered to add the names Israel and Sarah, respectively, if their names did not proclaim their Jewish lineage.

Under the influence of the Bible, Christians borrowed many Hebrew names either in their pure biblical form (Aaron, Abner, Abigail, Adah, Beulah) or in a derivative form (Ann, Anna from Hannah, John from Yohanan, Elizabeth from Elisheba, Mary and Maria from Miriam).

. Jewish family names are of recent origin. Until 1800, the father’s name would often be the family name; for example, Aaron ben (son of) Samuel was known as Aaron Samuel. In the early Middle Ages, Cohen, Levi, and their Hebrew abbreviations Katz (from the initials of Kohen Zedek, Priest of Justice) and Segal (from S’gan Levi, Levitical Head) are mentioned. Names such as Aaronson, Abramson, Hirschenson, and Jacobson (and their Slavic forms Aronovsky, Abramsky, Hirshovsky, Yakubovsky, or Aronovitsh, Abramovitsh, Hirshovitsh, and Yakubovitsh) originated from the use of the father’s name. The elimination of “son” restored such names to their anglicized forms (Aaron, Abrahams, Hirsh, Jacobs), while the addition of “mann” to Hebrew or Yiddish proper names created surnames like Abermann (from Abraham), Heymann (Hayim), Koppelmann (Jacob), Mosesmann, Nachmann, Saulmann, and Urimann.

More than 60% of Jewish family names in Europe are of geographic derivation, the oldest being Spiro, Mintz, Horowitz, Liebshitz, and names ending in “burg” (Friedburg, Maidenburg, Ruttenburg, and Warburg). A small percentage denotes occupations (Buchbinder, Drucker, Goldschmidt, Hutmacher, Kirzhner, Lederer, Milner, Schneider, Tischler) or Jewish communal functions (Chazan, Cantor; Lehrer, Teacher; Magid, Preacher; Parnes, President; and Singer). Abbreviations are also common: Asch from Eisenstadt; Bach from Bayit Chadash, “Newhouse”; Bahrav from Ben Ha-rav, “Rabbi’s Son”; Back from Ben Kedoshim, “Son-of-Saints”; Barash from Ben Rabbi Shimon, Son-of-Rabbi-Simon; Shatz from Sheliah Tzibur, “Public Pleader”; Zakheim from Zera Kodesh aim, “Seed-of-Holiness.”

Among American Jews there is a tendency to anglicize the family name; a name such as Katzenelenbogen, one of the oldest among European Jews, may be changed to Katenel, Katzen, Katz, or Kat, ultimately to become Kay. In the State of Israel, the translation of a name into a Hebraized form is popular. Thus, Gutstein becomes Eventov; Lichtstein, Maor or Even-Ur; Goldberg, Har Zahav; Friedberg, Har Shalom; Friedman, Ish Shalom; Derbarimdiker, Rahman or Rahamim; Florentin, Perahiah; Diamant, Yahalom; Rosen, Shoshan; Stock, Sedan or Zmorah; Shertok, Sharett; and Treger, Amos.


Literally, my struggle. Tenth son of Jacob. The tribe of Naphtali was warlike in its early days; it was allotted territory north and west of the Sea of Galilee.

NASI, JOSEPH (ca. 1510-1579).

Jewish statesman, banker, and merchant. Born in Portugal, Joseph Nasi came from the historic Nasi-Mendes family of distinguished Spanish aristocrats. Some of them were among the refugees from Spain who settled in Portugal in 1492. Forced to adopt Christianity in 1497, they became Marranos, or secret Jews. Joseph’s Marrano name was Joao Miguez. When he was about 15 years old, Joseph’s widowed aunt, Donna Gracia de Mendesia, took him to Antwerp where there was less religious prejudice. In Antwerp, also, they came to be suspected of secretly observing Judaism, and fled to Venice. When Venice expelled all Marranos and arrested Donna Gracia, the powerful Nasi-Mendes banking and financial house brought its influence to Turkey. Joseph was therefore able to get the help of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in obtaining freedom for his aunt. When she was released, Donna Gracia, her daughter Reyna, and Joseph settled in Constantinople and threw off the disguise of Catholicism. Joseph married his beautiful cousin Reyna, and after Suleiman’s death he entered the service of Sultan Selim. He was a favorite at the court, and his influence was greater than the Grand Vizier’s. In gratitude for the success of his policies, Selim made Joseph Nasi Duke of Naxos and Prince of the Cyclades. He also gave him a grant of the city of Tiberias in Palestine. Joseph Nasi gathered up 200 Jewish refugees from the Inquisition in Italy and brought them to Tiberias in his ships. Into this colony he introduced mulberry trees for silk cultivation, although the results of this 16th-century experiment in agricultural settlement of the Holy Land are not recorded. One of Joseph Nasi’s spectacular policies was dictated by his desire for revenge. He pressed the Sultan into declaring war on Venice; the result was the capture of Cyprus by the Turks.


Organized by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in the 1950’s, NCSY is a national youth movement open to all Jewish teenagers. It is organized in chapters affliated with twelve regions throughout the U.S. The NCSY conducts a large variety of programs in the U.S. and Israel, summer camps, an Israel summer program, leadership training, and a new program for Jewish children in Ukraine.


The oldest major Jewish women’s organization in the U.S., the National Council of Jewish Women has a history of pioneering advocacy and community service projects in the U.S. and Israel for more than 91 years. More than 100,000 members in 200 sections nationwide implement the mission of the organization, which in the spirit of Judaism is dedicated to furthering human welfare in Jewish and general communities, locally, nationally and internationally.

Currently, NCJW maintains five priorities: children and youth; women’s issues; Israel; the elderly; and Jewish life. The organization offers a myriad of programs and projects in each priority. For example, NCJW’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) project, implemented by its sections, provides volunteers as advocates for children in the foster care system. The NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education at the Hebrew University which promotes education and social welfare.


Now called Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), the women’s division of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central organization of Reform Judaism in the U.S. Organized in 1913, the organization has a membership consists of members of more than 800 sisterhoods. Functioning groups are also found in Canada, the U.K., Latin America, Australia, and South Africa. Through program material, study courses, and projects, the URJ assists its members in serving the synagogue, gaining Jewish knowledge, and translating religious ideals into practical expression of concern for humanity. The WRJ provide scholarships and aid to students at the Hebrew Union College. The Jewish Institute of Religion helps to promote and support the youth activities program of the Union for Reform Judaism, and subsidizes institutes for religious schoolteachers and laypersons. It grants rabbinic fellowships to foreign students to enable them to serve congregations belonging to the World Union for Progressive Judaism after ordination and graduation. To further interfaith awareness and understanding, the sisterhoods conduct institutes on Judaism for Christian women to acquaint them with the traditions, ritual, and philosophy of Judaism.


The National Federation of Temple Youth (NIFTY) represents teenagers affiliated with Reform synagogues in the U.S. NIFTY is divided into regions. Members in the various regions are encouraged to attend conclaves, to participate in leadership institutes, and to help in NIFTY projects. The national organization seeks to exert a direct influence on the individual members through its Mitzvah Program. A Mitzvah Kit details the projects of the individual groups and forms the basis for the major part of teenage activity. The program includes various activities of NIFTY in Israel.

NAVON, YITZHAK (1921- ).

Israeli educator, public servant, and fifth president of the State of Israel. Born in Jerusalem to an old Sephardic family, he studied at the Hebrew University, then taught at elementary and secondary schools. He also served as director of the Arabic department of Haganah. In 1949, he joined Israel’s foreign service. Later, he was political secretary first to Moshe Sharett and from 1952 to 1963 to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. In 1965, after serving two years with the Ministry of Education, he was elected to the Knesset. In 1978, he was elected president of the State of Israel, the first Sephardic Jew and native-born Israeli to hold that office. He has written books and stories on the folklore of Sephardic communities, one of which, The Sephardic Orchard, has become a popular musical in Israel.


Israeli town of about 69,000 inhabitants. It is the main Arab city in Israel, mostly Christian with a Moslem minority. Nazareth nestles in a secluded glen in the hills of lower Galilee in the shadow of Mount Tabor, overlooking the great Plain of Jezreel. The home of Jesus as a child and young man, Nazareth has many beautiful churches, monasteries, and sacred sites, including the Fountain of the Virgin. Next to Nazareth is Natzrat Ilit, a new Jewish town of some 30,000 inhabitants.


One in biblical times who vowed to abstain from various pleasures for a limited period of time and dedicate himself to God. The Nazirite was not allowed to drink wine, go near a dead body, or cut his hair (Num. 6). Samson was a Nazirite and caused his own downfall by allowing Delilah to shave his head (Judges 16:19). The Nazirite assumed vows for a period of not fewer than thirty days, at the end of which he brought a sacrifice at the Temple. Although a section of the Talmud is devoted to the laws of the Nazirite, Jewish tradition discouraged people from placing personal restrictions on themselves and separating themselves from society.


See Holocaust.


Jews arrived when the territory was first organized in 1854. Mostly Central European traders and merchants, they settled in Omaha, Lincoln, Plattsmouth, Grand Island, and other towns. By the end of the century more Jews, mostly East European, arrived. Attempts to establish a Jewish agricultural settlement failed. In the 20th century Jews became active in the public life of the state, and several Jews served as mayors of their towns. Among the prominent Jews of Omaha were Aaron Cahn, who served in the state legislature in 1863, and Henry Monsky, a B’nai B’rith leader. Today, there are 7,500 Jews in the state, with 6,500 in Omaha and 800 in Lincoln. The Jewish Press is published in Omaha.


King of Babylonia from 605-562 B.C.E. He conquered the ancient Middle East, and when the kingdom of Judah rebelled against him in 586, he captured Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and exiled its people, thus ending the first commonwealth and starting the Babylonian exile.


Southern and still largely uninhabited part of Israel, more than 4,000 square miles in area. It has a desert climate, hot and dry by day, cold and humid by night. The Negev is the largest compact territorial block in Israel, made up of uplands and plateaus with elevations of up to 3,000 feet, as well as canyons and wide, dry river beds. For many centuries the Negev was a forsaken wasteland, although evidence of past life is shown in the ruins of cities and villages such as Elat and Haluza, Avdat and Shivta. Relics of terraces, dams, and pools date back to Nabatean, Roman, and Byzantine times. These were stations of the ancient trade routes and the mining cities of Solomon. Today, the dry lands of the Negev are slowly coming to life. New settlements are growing with newly arrived immigrants; sheep ranches are being established and crops are being cultivated with the aid of water piped from the Yarkon River. Underground water sources are being tapped, and copper mining has been resumed at the ancient sites. Minerals such as phosphates and kaolin are being successfully exploited.


See Babylonia.


Eleventh book in the Ketuvim, or Writings, section of the Bible. It relates the history of Nehemiah, son of Hacaliah, who was the cupbearer of Artaxerxes II, King of Persia (ca. 446 B.C.E.). When news of the poor condition of the returned exiles in Jerusalem reached Nehemiah in Susa, he obtained a commission from the King to return to Judea as its governor. One of Nehemiah’s first tasks was to lead the people in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, as they defended themselves from attacks by the Samaritans.

Nehemiah inspired the builders to defend themselves as they worked, saying “one of his hands does the work and in the other he holds his weapon.” Together with Ezra the Scribe, Nehemiah reinstituted festivals and observances which preserved the identity and continuity of the Jewish people.


Literally, closing. Final service of Yom Kippur. Traditionally, the recital of this prayer indicated that the gates of heaven were about to close and judgment would be passed on the fate of men and women for the coming year. The Neilah service dates back to the 3rd century, one of the most solemn portions of Jewish liturgy.


Literally, eternal light. Light kept on perpetually over the ark in the synagogue, as a symbol of God’s presence.


Prime Minister of Israel. After becoming chairman of the Likud Party in 1993, he was first elected Prime MinisterĀ in May 1996 in the state’s first direct election of Prime Minister and served until 1999. He was Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister from 1988 to 1991 and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office from 1991 to 1992. He became Prime Minister on again in 2009

Netanyahu’s previous posts were Israel’s Ambassador to the UN (1984-88) and Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. (1982-84). In the 13th Knesset (1992-1996) he was a member of the Knesset Committees on Foreign Affairs and Security and on Constitution, Law, and Justice. He was Finance Minister of Israel until August 9, 2005, having resigned in protest at the Gaza Disengagement Plan advocated by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Netanyahu retook the Likud leadership on December 20, 2005. As of December 2006, he is the official leader of the Opposition in the Knesset.

Before entering public life, Netanyahu, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served as a soldier and officer in an elite anti-terror unit in the Israel Defense Forces (1967-1972). He is the editor of several books, including Terrorism: How the West Can Win (1986) and International Terrorism: Challenge and Response (1991). More recently, he wrote A Place Among the Nations: Israel and the World (1993) and Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism (1995).


Jews began to settle in Holland in 1322, but were driven out in the latter part of that century. However, late in the 15th century, as Jews and Marranos began to arrive from Spain, many Marranos returned openly to the Jewish faith. Many of the Jewish refugees had capital and initiative, and in time they attained positions of economic importance. In the 17th century, their ranks were swelled by Ashkenazic Jews arriving from Germany and Poland. The flourishing Dutch communities were strictly Orthodox and did not tolerate any act of reform or heresy. For this reason Uriel Acosta was excommunicated in 1618, as was Baruch Spinoza in 1655. Dutch Jewry enjoyed more political rights than did their fellow Jews in other European lands. Until the occupation of Holland by the Germans in 1940, local Jewry played a significant part in the economy, culture, and media of the Netherlands.

In 1942, the Germans herded all Dutch Jews into ghettos and concentration camps. The largest of the latter was Westerbork, from which 117,000 Jewish men, women, and children were transferred to Auschwitz and Sobibor in Poland, where they were exterminated in gas chambers. Their possessions, factories, and businesses were plundered by the Germans. About 25,000 Jews, some of them of mixed ancestry, and others concealed in special hiding places survived.

In 2007, the Jewish community in the Netherlands numbered 30,000, of whom about half lived in Amsterdam. The years following World War II were taken up with recuperation-efforts to recover property and assets, to restore a semblance of order to religious and social institutions, and to bring back Jewish children harbored by Christians and often brought up in the Christian faith. By the end of 1949, the remnants of Dutch Jewry had begun to take on the characteristics of a stable community. Economically, they were self-supporting and better off than the rest of Europe’s Jewry. Synagogues and schools were reopened, and the work of restitution proceeded at a steady, if slow pace. The central Jewish welfare agency reported at the end of 1955 that it was affiliated with 28 religious and 37 private organizations.


Made up of Cura

NETTER, KARL (1826-1882).

Entrepreneur in London and Paris. One of the founders of the Alliance Isra


Literally, Guardians of the City. Group of Orthodox extremists who oppose the State of Israel because they believe that Israel can be redeemed only through the direct intervention of God and the advent of the Messiah. In 1935, a few hundred members of Agudath Israel under the leadership of Amram Blau objected strenuously to their organization’s cooperation with other Zionist groups. They broke away and formed the Neture Karta, and have not hesitated to resort to violence in support of their beliefs. The organization is small but has supporters outside of Israel, particularly in the U.S.

NEUMANN, EMANUEL (1893-1980).

American Zionist leader. Brought to the U.S. from Lithuania as an infant, he was a founder of Young Judea and served as president of the Zionist Organization of America from 1947 to 1949 and from 1956 to 1958. For more than half a century, he played an important role in the American Zionist movement as a speaker, author, and organizer, and was a member of the Jewish Agency Executive from 1951.


Of the 69,000 Jews in the state, the majority lives in Las Vegas and the rest in Reno. Jews came mostly from California to Nevada in the mid-19th century in search of gold and silver. In 1862, a B’nai B’rith lodge was established in Virginia City, and in 1869, services were held in Carson City. In the first half of the 20th century there was little influx of Jews to the state, but as Las Vegas became a major entertainment and gambling center, the Jewish population grew rapidly, with many working in the hotel and tourist industry. There are two Conservative and two Reform congregations in Las Vegas, and one each in Reno. Las Vegas has two Jewish newspapers, the Las Vegas Israelite and the Jewish Reporter.


The last of the 13 colonies to grant political equality to Jews, it was only in 1885 that the first Jewish community was organized in the state. Today, there are 9,500 Jews, with 4,000 in Manchester and the rest in Nashua, Dover, and Portsmouth. All of these towns have Reform congregations, with Conservative congregations only in Nashua and Portsmouth.


The state’s 480,000 Jews are scattered throughout the state in many communities, many of which are part of the Greater New York area, and in towns such as Trenton, Atlantic City, Morristown, and in smaller communities. Jewish communities began to grow in the state in the mid-19th century in towns such as Paterson, Newark, New Brunswick, and Trenton. At the turn of the century, communities grew in Jersey City, Elizabeth, Perth Amboy, Hoboken, East Orange, and Bayonne. Jewish farming, mostly chicken farming, flourished in southern New Jersey during the 1880’s and well into the 20th century. Today, New Jersey is one of the main centers of Jewish life in the U.S., with a large number of congregations of the three major movements and a wide network of Hebrew schools and Jewish day schools.


Of the 11,000 Jews in the state, 7,000 live in Albuquerque, the rest in Santa Fe and Las Cruces. Jewish organized life did not start until the mid-19th century in Santa Fe. The first Jewish organization was the B’nai B’rith lodge in Albuquerque. From 1930 to 1933, Arthur Seligman was governor of the state. There are a Conservative and a Reform synagogue in Albuquerque. Santa Fe and Las Cruces have each a Reform congregation.


See Rosh Hodesh.


See Rosh Ha-shanah.


With 1.65 million Jews, or about 9 percent of the total population, New York has by far the largest Jewish population of any state, with a much higher percentage in the general population than the national rate, where the Jews constitute fewer than 2%. New York City alone accounts for close to 1.5 million. Jews first arrived in New York in 1654, but communal life did not start until the 1830’s, when Jewish communities began to appear outside New York City, first in Albany, then Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester, and a dozen other cities. Today, there are 26,000 Jews in Buffalo, 22,500 in Rochester, 12,000 in Albany, and 9,000 in Syracuse. The Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Yoel has 10,000 Jews. Rockland County has 83,000 Jews. New York City remains the major center of Jewish life and culture in the state.


Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Brazil arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654. In 1664, the British took the town from the Dutch and renamed it New York. Not until 1728 was the Jewish community permitted to build a synagogue. Two years later, Congregation Shearith Israel was dedicated. In 1731, New York’s first Jewish school was founded. In 1740, when the English Parliament made Jews eligible for citizenship in the American colonies, most Jews took advantage of the privilege.

During the Revolutionary War, the community, which had grown to 300, was split between Loyalists and Rebels. Establishment of the United States brought no great change in the life of New York Jewry. At the time of the War of 1812, it is estimated that there were 400 Jews in the city. In the decades that followed, however, the community grew by leaps and bounds, its ranks swelled by immigrants from Germany and Central Europe. By 1840, the settlement numbered 13,000. Forty years later, it was 60,000. Founding synagogues, periodicals, schools, and charitable organizations, New York Jews formed a community which, by the 1870’s, could begin to claim leadership in American Jewry. After 1881, New York became the thriving center of Jewish life that it is today.

Fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe, more than two million Jews came to the U.S. between 1881 and 1914; three-quarters of them lived at least for a time in New York’s Lower East Side. Here they created their own Yiddish-speaking world with hundreds of synagogues, schools and heders (one-room schools), newspapers, theaters, clubs, political groups, fraternal orders, mutual-aid societies, and the like. By 1900, there were six Yiddish dailies and numerous weekly and monthly periodicals. With readers who knew only Yiddish, these publications were more than newspapers: they served as schools, libraries, and personal guidance bureaus for thousands of immigrants eager to find their place in a strange new world. Yiddish theater flourished as it never had in the “old country.”

However, the golden days of the East Side were numbered. The East Side soon became a squalid slum. As soon as immigrants could afford to move to a better neighborhood, they did so. At first the majority of immigrants became peddlers or entered “sweatshops,” usually clothing factories, where workers were “sweated” long hours for starvation wages. In time, many peddlers, after scrimping and saving, opened small shops or factories; workers began to organize in unions to demand better conditions and a living wage. While the first generation could not escape the ghetto, the second generally did. Parents struggled to educate their children, first in the high schools, then at college. Movement away from the East Side was movement up the social ladder.

By the end of the 1920’s, New York Jewry had changed radically. After 1924, immigration laws stopped the flow of newcomers, and the center of population shifted from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn and the Bronx. By that time, too, a second generation whose mother tongue was English, not Yiddish, had grown up and mixed more freely with the older Jewish and non-Jewish communities. A relatively large proportion of the younger generation entered the professions. Those who remained in their parents’ occupations did so under new and improved conditions. Immigrants had revolutionized the garment industry, introducing new mass-production techniques. Bolstered by national and state labor laws, the great “Jewish” union organizations, such as the International Ladies Garment Workers founded in 1900 and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers established in 1913, assured their members a decent return for their labor.

Before the gradual “Americanization” of immigrants and their integration into American life, the early immigrants had kept together, founding institutions to satisfy their immediate needs. But now it was necessary to educate a new generation and to organize a community which could sustain the traditions of Jewish life. Efforts to organize the sprawling mass of New York Jewry into a single comprehensive community organization, or kehilla, were made early in the century; between 1909 and 1922 such a kehilla functioned under the chairmanship of Judah Magnes. Although the kehilla plan collapsed, areas of cooperation were found. A bureau of Jewish education, later absorbed by the Jewish Education Committee, continued to function after the kehilla’s failure; so did the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies formed in Brooklyn in 1906 and a similar federation founded in Manhattan in 1917. In 1937, the two federations merged to form a single Greater New York Federation. Similarly, Zionist activities and the need to unite in defense against Nazi-fomented antisemitic groups in the 1930’s required the participation of the entire community.

The Jewish community, as it emerged in the 1940’s, tended to be organized around independent synagogues, community centers, landsmanschaften (organizations of people from the same town in Europe), and some independent Zionist organizations. In the 1950’s ever-increasing numbers of Jews moved to the suburban areas of New York. The synagogue became the basic unit of affiliation, with community and nationwide organizations working through synagogue groups. But individual Jews also continued to belong to other communal organizations such as labor groups and fraternal orders.

On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists slammed two hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, completely demolishing it twin towers. Many Jews perished among the thousands of victims. The U.S. declared war on terrorism that still continues in 2007.

At present New York is the home of about 1.5 million Jews in a total city population of about 8 million, undoubtedly the center of Jewish life in America. All national Jewish religious, national, and cultural organizations maintain offices in the city. There are many Jewish day schools at the elementary level and a large number of full-time high schools. A number of Hebrew high schools offer courses in Hebrew in the afternoons and Sundays, and many public high schools also teach Hebrew as a foreign language. A number of colleges in New York have departments of Jewish studies. Yiddish groups support a network of afternoon schools at the elementary and high school levels. The majority of children, however, receive their Jewish education in synagogue-affiliated afternoon and Sunday schools. New York’s Jewish publications include a Yiddish weekly, two Hebrew weeklies, and dozens of English language weeklies and monthlies put out by various organizations and denominations. (See also United States, History of Jews in the.)


British dominion comprising two large and many small islands in the Pacific Ocean southeast of Australia. New Zealand has about 5,200 Jews in a total population of 4 million.

A few adventurous Jews settled in New Zealand a few years before British rule was established in 1840. The first group arrived with the first transports of immigrants from England. In 1843, they founded the dominion’s first Jewish community at Wellington. A second community was established at Auckland in 1859 and a third at Dunedin in 1862.

The New Zealand Jewish community remained one of the smallest in the world until the discovery of gold in the Otago district in 1861 increased the settlement more than tenfold. While there were 65 Jews in the country in 1851, 1,247 arrived in 1867 alone. Later growth of the community was restricted by the dominion’s severe immigration policies.

The early settlers braved the backland wilds to trade with the aborigines. Others went into dairy and sheep farming or sought to exploit the gold fields. At present, however, close to 90% earn their living in commerce and industry, 9% in the professions, and 2% in agriculture.

Both Auckland and Wellington house two synagogues, while Dunedin and Christchurch each have one. The community is prosperous and has made considerable contributions to Israel.

From the beginning Jews played an important role in New Zealand’s political and cultural life. Sir Julius Vogel served as prime minister from 1873 to 1876, then as New Zealand’s general agent in London. Sir Michael Myers served as Chief Justice. Jews have filled a number of cabinet and administrative posts in government and have served in the Legislative Council.


See Stage and Screen.


See Aaronsohn, Aaron.


See Fast Days.


Seventh month of the Jewish civil calendar, considered as the first month of the religious year. See Passover.