Early Jewish Pioneers of Tulsa, Oklahoma

Early Pioneer Jewish Settlers of Tulsa, Oklahoma

In 1902, the first Jews arrived in Tulsa – mostly Latvians.

Simon Jankowsky opened his Palace Clothier in 1904 and stayed in business until 1943.

Sylva Goldman – businessman.

Leo Meyer – tax auditor and former Secretary of State.

The Aaronsons, Julius Livingston, the Travis brothers, and the Finston brothers all worked in the same business – OIL !

Turn of the Century Early Tulsa Oil Field, Vintage Postcard

Turn of the Century Early Tulsa Oil Field,  Vintage Postcard


A minyon was established in 1903.

Congregation B’nai Emunah was founded 1916 as an Orthodox shul by the Jews of Latvian decent.

Emanuel Synagogue was founded in 1904, as a Conservative shul.

Temple Israel was founded in 1914, as a Reform synagogue.

They held their services held in the Elk’s Club and the Ohio Building, until 1916.

Their first Rabbi was hired in 1917.

Their first building was erected in 1919, and the second, in 1932.


The Tulsa Jewish Community has a Mutual Aid Bank, and a Hebrew Free Loan Society.

In 1938, the Jewish Community Council of Tulsa was founded to raise money for relief overseas.

Tulsa Main Street, Vintage Postcard


  • 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 Tulsa, Oklahoma Exhibit

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