Early Jewish Pioneers of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Jewish Pioneers of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


Ben Hirschland was a successful paper wholesaler and box manufacturer in Oklahoma City prior to Oklahoma’s statehood (1907).


In 1909, Ben Barnett started a laundry which expanded into other businesses.


In 1915, Al Rosenthal opened a shop.


B.J. Kaufman was a wholesale milliner.


In 1917, Max Faginan attorney, arrived in Oklahoma City.


In 1919, Dr. I. Levy, an optometrist, arrived from McAlester.


Dr. J. C. Fishman joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma’s Medical School.


1920, attorneys Ed Hirsh and son moved from Muskogee to Oklahoma City.


In 1922, David Schoenwald founded Blackwell Oil (in Blackwell) and was President of the First National Bank of Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Main Street at Turn of the Century, Vintage Postcard

Oklahoma City Main Street at the turn of last century, vintage postcard


Temple B’nai Israel was founded in 1903. The congregation used student rabbis from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati for High Holy Days. Gus Paul, the City Attorney, led regular services. Arthur Lewinsohn was its first rabbi in 1904. Rabbi Joseph Blatt presided from 1906 until 1946. In 1906, there were 35 families in the congregation. From 1906-1916 Rabbi Blatt was Oklahoma’s only full-time rabbi.


In 1904, Emanuel Synagogue was formed as an Orthodox congregation. It is now affiliated with the Conservative movement.

Oklahoma Capital in Oklahoma City with Oil Wells on Lawn, Vintage Postcard

Oklahoma Capitol, Oklahoma City, with oil wells on lawn, vintage postcard


Gus Paul served as City Attorney.

Max Fagin served as Assistant County Attorney before 1930.

Seymor C. Heyman, who came to Oklahoma City in 1901, served as President of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and later became President of the Oklahoma City School Board.

Oklahoma's 50th Anniversary U. S. Postage Stamp.

Oklahoma’s 50th Anniversary U. S. Postage Stamp


  • Henry J. Tobias, The Jews of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).

Regina Merwin is the curator for this Oklahoma City exhibit.