Aaron Cahn: Pioneer Jewish Merchandiser and Philanthropist of San Francisco and the Northwest

 

Aaron Cahn of San Francisco

Aaron Cahn of San Francisco

Aaron Cahn

Values Codes I-E-L-P

Aaron Cahn was born in Alsace, France in 1820, son of Rabbi Maier Cahn.

Soon after the discovery of Gold in California, Aaron Cahn arrived in San Francisco via the Isthmus.

Two years later he moved to Monterey, California where he engaged in the general merchandise business.

Later he moved to Portland, Oregon and established a wholesale grocery business with stores in various cities in the Northwest – all the time maintaining his residence in San Francisco.

In the early 1870s, in his early 50’s, Aaron Cahn retired from active business and devoted his time to his private interest and charitable endeavors.

Community

Aaron Cahn was one of the early Directors of Temple Emanu-El and served on the committee responsible for the erection of the synagogue at the Sutter Street location.

For over 40 years he contributed both time and money to the Eureka Bevevolent Society, serving on its Directorate from 1872 until his death in 1903.

“No sacrifice of time or energy was too great; no undertaking for the benefit of his fellow men was too burdensome to be borne by him.”  –Rabbi Martin Meyer, 1916.

Family

Aaron Cahn’s first wife was Estelle Reiss, who died in 1870.

In 1880, Aaron Cahn married to Babette Willard.

Together they had three children.

 

Aaron Cahn died in 1912

 

Sources:

  • The Jews of San Francisco, by Martin A. Meyer, Ph.D., Emanu-El, San Francisco, June 1916.
  • Visions of Reform, Congregation Emanu-El and the Jews of San Francisco, 1849-1999, Fred Rosenbaum, Judah L. Magnus Museum, Berkeley, CA, 2000.

David Epstein is the Curator for this Aaron Cahn Exhibit

More family information and pictures would be greatly appreciated.