Noteworthy Jewish Pioneers of Early Omaha, Nebraska
Each of the above have separate Exhibits. Click in their names to be taken to their Exhibits.
Henery Siegal was born in Bavaria. He came to the United States with 2 brothers, settling first in Baltimore in 1841.
When Union Pacific Railroad began, he opened a store in Omaha.
He then followed the Railroad as it proceeded westward, selling goods to construction workers.
He eventually settled in Salt Lake City.
The Omaha City Directory of 1870 showed that of the 15 clothing firms listed, half were of Jewish ownership – all were located within 2 square blocks.
Isaac M. Frank
In 1866, Isaac Frank and his brother had a clothing store in Omaha.
Isaac Frank was the first president of Khela B’ni Israel in 1868.
Morris Elgutter had conducted a wholesale drygoods business in California, and had become one of the first Jewish residents of Salt Lake City 1864
He was a founder of Salt Lake City Mount Moriah Masonic Lodge.
Morris Elgutter left Salt Lake City after disagreeing with Brigham Young.
Morris Elgutter arrived in Omaha in 1866 where he operated a store and was active in the Jewish community.
Bernard Gladstone’s family immigrated from Hungary and spent 10 years in Ohio before coming to Omaha.
The rest of his family arrived in Omaha in 1868 – wife, 8 children & his son-in-law, Emmanuel Simon.
Bernard Gladstone opened the Omaha Hoop Skirt Factory in 1868.
The Gladstore & Co., t wholesale & retail grocery business lasted 45 years.
Bernard Gladstone’s wife, Hannah, died 1870.
She was buried in the Christian cemetery, but was disinterred to be the first burial in the new Jewish Pleasant Hill Cemetery when established in 1871.
Samuel Jacobs came to Omaha to open a clothing store in 1869.
Samuel Reichenberg arrived from Germany in 1868.
He opened a restaurant and confectionary in Omaha in 1869
John Merritt had a restaurant in 1869 that specialized in “red hot peanuts.”
Among first eleven graduates of Omaha High School were Esther Jacobs and Addie Gladstone. Both became school teachers.
Omaha Fire Department volunteers included Meyer Hellamn, Aaron Cahn, and Leopold May.
Charles Schland was an Assistant Fire Chief and Meyer Goldsmith served as President of the Omaha Dire Department.
Aaron Cahn & Meyer Hellman were charter members Capital Lodge #3 Masonic Order, 1857
Joseph Rosenstein, Leopold May and Meyer Goldsmith were organizers of both the Knights of Pythias and the Odd Fellows.
Aaron Cahn was elected to the 8th Territorial Legislature 1861 and served as Treasurer of Omaha in 1868
First Jewish Doctor came in 1884. Dr. Oscar S. Hoffman was invited by Max Meyer. He served as 1st Co-Staff at Wise Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Charles Rosewater returned to Omaha in 1886.
Simon Bloom set up practice in Omaha in 1877.
He also served on the Omaha Board of Education and gave sermons at Congregation of Israel.
Charles S. Elgutter, son of pioneer Morris Elgutter, set up practice in 1891. He also served on the Omaha Board of Education and was active in the Jewish community.
Louis Mendelsohn designed and created the engineering plans for the Exposition Building, Chamber of Commerce, The First National Bank and the Synagogue.
For more information see the following issues of Western States Jewish History:
- The Jews of Omaha: The First 60 Years, by Carol Gendler, 6-part series, Vol. 5, #3 & 4; Vol.6, #1 – 4. 1973-1974
This material was gathered in 1974. Much more information has probably been found since then. Any more information will be appreciated, added, or corrected. Just click on “Contact” on the top bar.