Early Jewish Pioneers of Chickasha, Oklahoma

Jewish Pioneers of Chickasha, Oklahoma

Abraham Belk and wife Sadie opened junk business – pre-1907 statehood.


Herman Kohn – had already opened a dry goods store in 1906

Chickasha OK, Vintage Postcard before Automobiles

Benjamin Lubman, from Russia via Kansas City, opened a jewelry store, and also  sold eyeglasses and men’s furnishings, in 1902.


Leopold Wohlgemuth, from Germany via Illinois, opened the The People’s Store, selling dry goods –  sometime before 1910.

Louis Erlich, Wohlgemuth’s son-in-law co-owned the store.

He and his wife, Florence, worked and lived with Wohlgemuth.

Louis Erlich was Secretary-Treasurer of Congregation B’nai Abraham.

Both families had moved on by 1930.


Charles I. Miller and Ben Levine (cousins) owned the Dixie Store in 1919.

Their Dixie Store was one of six family owned Dixie Stores around Southwest Oklahoma.

Their Dixie Store was family-run until 1994, when it closed.

The store is now the home of the Grady County Historical Museum.


Site of Matthew & Levine's Dixie Store, now a museum

Site of Miller & Levine’s Dixie Store, now a museum

Aaron Slutzky from Poland arrived in the United States in 1920.

He studied Pharmacology.

Aaron Slutzky owned a pharmacy in Chichasha for 35 years.

He remained active in Chickasha’s Jewish life long after the synagogue was gone.


The high point of Jewish population was 1919, with 125 Jews.

Chickasha Main Street, 1920's, Vintage Post Card

Chickasha Main Street, 1920’s, Vintage Post Card


Jewish Religious Life in Chickasha, Oklahoma

Congregation B’nai Abraham, formed 1915.

Services were in Hebrew for the Congregation of 25 which met in the  Masonic Temple.

L. Gaspar was President.

Samuel Goldsmith, a local dry goods merchant, led the services.

Congregation B’nai Abraham was gone by the mid-1920s.

Since then the observant Jewish community has traveled 40 miles to Oklahoma City.


Bill Miller found a wife in St. Louis: Eleanor Bleiweiss.

They kept a kosher home, had kosher meat shipped in.



The Southwest Oklahoma Lodge of B’nai B’rith  was founded by Chickasha men, and included men from  Anadarko and Lawton.



  • Tobias, Henry J. The Jews of Oklahoma.  University of Oklahoma Press, 1980.
  • Jewish Virtual Library
  • Encyclopedia Judaica
  • Institute of Southern Jewish Life

Regina Merwin is the Curator for this Chickasha, Oklahoma Exhibit

Pictures and more information would be very helpful for this exhibit.