By Austin Reid
Pictured is the only surviving part of the Tuscarawas County Jewish Center. This Star of David
was rescued by Lester Cohen before the Jewish Center was razed in 1968. Photo courtesy of
Introduction: An Overview of Jewish History in Tuscarawas County
From 1937 to 1968 the Tuscarawas County Jewish Center existed in New Philadelphia.
For much of this time, Orthodox rabbis ministered to the congregation, which was located inside
rented halls before moving into a converted house at 210 Fair Avenue NW. At its largest size in
the mid-1950s, the Jewish Center had around 96 members. During the Center’s period of
greatest activity, religious education classes for children were held daily, and services were
organized multiple times per week. Although only in operation for about a generation, the
contributions to Tuscarawas County from members of the Jewish Center can still be observed
well into the 21st century. These contributions include the Monroe Center, the Tuscarawas
County Health District building, The Little Theater of Tuscarawas County, and Union Hospital.
Further, Jews contributed to numerous civic organizations, including the American Legion,
Rotary, and the Tuscarawas Chamber of Commerce. It is also known that Jews have had a
continuous presence in Tuscarawas County since the 1840s. By examining the history of Jewish
families in Dover, New Philadelphia and Uhrichsville, it is possible to better understand both the
development of Tuscarawas County and Jewish life in small-towns throughout the United States.
The following pages aim to preserve a piece of Tuscarawas history for future residents.
Notable Jewish Residents of Tuscarawas County During the Nineteenth Century
While no Jewish communal institutions are believed to have existed in Tuscarawas
County during the 1800s, several Jewish families are known to have lived in the area during this
century. Among the first Jews in the county were Abraham and Elias Wolf, who arrived in
Uhrichsville at some point during the 1840s to create a business. Like many Jews living in the
United States at the time, Abraham and Elias, along with their wives, Mary and Amelia, were
immigrants from Central Europe. The two couples were joined in 1848 by their nephew, Simon
Wolf, who was 12 years old. Simon moved to the United States with his grandparents from
Hinzweiler, which is located in modern-day Germany. During the late 1840s, Europe was beset
by political turmoil and revolutions. While these difficulties compelled many Europeans to
immigrate to the United States, Jews, who also faced long-standing legal and social persecution,
had a particular incentive to emigrate. During their time in Tuscarawas County, Abraham and
Elias Wolf organized Shabbat services on Saturdays in a private home. Reflecting on these
experiences in his later years, Simon reported that twenty to thirty people, who traveled from
across the Tuscarawas Valley region, attended these religious services. Following the prayer
service, Amelia and Mary Wolf would serve a communal dinner to the guests. Most of the
attendees were itinerant traders who operated throughout the countryside selling various goods.
Uhrichsville, with its location between Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh, served as a
regional trade center. The religious services and dinners organized by the Wolfs are the first
recorded Jewish communal activities in Tuscarawas County.
In 1856, both Abraham and Elias relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in 1859
Simon moved to New Philadelphia to study law under Joseph Hance, who was a judge. Abraham
and Elias both prospered in Pennsylvania, and one son of Amelia and Elias, Clarence, became a
state Senator. Simon went on to attend the Ohio Law College in Cleveland and passed the bar
exam in Mt. Vernon, Ohio in 1861. He then practiced law in New Philadelphia for one year
before moving to Washington D.C. Simon went on to serve as consul general to Egypt and
author the book, The American Jew as a Patriot, Soldier, and Citizen. This book chronicles the
role Jewish Americans played in American conflicts dating from the Revolution through the
About the time Simon left New Philadelphia, the Rothschild brothers arrived to open a
men’s clothing store. Ads featuring Rothschild & Bro. continued to appear in local newspapers
until 1869. Hannah and Samuel Goodman moved to Uhrichsville by 1870, and Samuel made a
living as a tailor. One of their sons, Sylvester, became a noted doctor in Columbus specializing in
childbirth and prenatal care. Joseph Loeb settled in Uhrichsville in 1877 and found work in the
insurance industry. In 1887, he married Amelia Steinfeld, who was from Columbus. Joseph was
also a member of the Knights of Pythias and Masons. Philip Falkenhoff settled in Uhrichsville
by 1884 and he soon operated a men’s clothing and furnishing store. In 1901 he was elected
treasurer of Mill Township, becoming the first Jew known to have held an elected office locally.
In this same year, however, Philip was taken to court by the local Clerks’ Union for keeping his
store open on Sunday. While the case was dismissed, it did reveal how contemporary local
laws, which were created to accommodate the needs of religious Christians, impacted Jews who
held Saturday as a holy day.
By the 1890s, at least three new Jewish residents settled in Tuscarawas County. These
individuals were Joseph Fried, Samuel Runner and Herman Weiss. Joseph Fried’s experiences as
an immigrant are particularly well recorded. A native of Austria-Hungary, Joseph began his
journey to the United States in 1881 at the age of 14. He ran out of money along the way,
however, and stopped in Germany to work as a Hebrew teacher. By 1894, Joseph was living in
what was then known as Canal Dover and working in the clothing business. He eventually
established his own business, the Joe Fried Clothing Company, which he operated until 1923.
In 1896 he wed Esther Geiger and the couple had at least two children, Gladys and Sidney. As an
adult, Gladys attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and married Sanford Lazarus, a
native of New York. Sidney died young at the age of 22. At the time, he was a football player at
Western Reserve University and a member of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity. During their years in
Dover, Esther and Joseph were involved with many civic organizations. Most notably, at the time
of his death, Joseph served as president of the Union Hospital Board of Trustees.
The Beginnings of the Tuscarawas County Jewish Center
Jews living in Tuscarawas County during the 1800s are known to have traveled to Canton
to attend certain religious services. Temple Israel, the oldest synagogue in Stark County, was not
chartered until 1885, but communal prayer services were organized in Canton as early as 1875.
By the 1910s the Jewish community in Tuscarawas County was coming together to support their
coreligionists abroad. In 1916, Jewish families raised $1,000 to support refugees in Europe and
Palestine, a sum that would be equal to around $25,000 in 2021. Six years later, it is recorded
that local families organized to support the United Israel Appeal (Keren Hayesod). At the time it
was estimated 25 Jewish families lived in Tuscarawas County. A majority of these families
were immigrants from Eastern Europe. Most also tended to be more orthodox in their religious
outlook when compared to earlier Jewish immigrants from Central Europe.
Jews who lived in Tuscarawas County for all or part of the years between 1900 and 1925
include Isaac and Rosa Adolph, Lillian and Samuel Davidorf, Ella and William Fienberg, Jacob
Katzenstein, Jacob and Minnie Klein, Bernard and Stella Milinsky, and Cecelia and Sol
Solomon. Samuel Davidorf, William Fienberg, Jacob Katzenstein, Jacob Klein, and Sol Solomon
were all involved in the clothing business. The prominent place of Jews in local clothing retail
was part of a larger national pattern during the early twentieth century. As recent immigrants to
the United States, many Jews were unable to join various professions in their adopted country
due to inexperience or anti-immigrant prejudice from established industry actors. Recent
technological advances in sewing, however, led to an expansion of jobs within the textile
industry that Jewish immigrants, and their children, were able to fill. The Adolph family,
however, was supported by Isaac’s work in the liquor trade, while Bernard Milinsky worked
selling scrap metal. Over the course of the twentieth century, several other local Jewish families
would be supported through the scrap metal businesses. Like the textile industry and clothing
retail, the prevalence of Jews in recycling was a product of accessibility and timing. Recycling
was a growing business with low startup costs and few barriers to entry. Other Jewish
entrepreneurs involved in repurposing scrap metals before 1925 included Solomon Linder,
Moses Rosenberg, Joseph Weiner, and Harry Wiseman.
While Jews had lived in Tuscarawas County for at least 60 years by the 1920s, their
numbers were still not sufficient enough to establish a congregation. The modest Jewish presence
in the area, however, did not mean the absence of local anti-Semitism. For example, informal
restrictive covenants that limited where Jews could buy homes existed into the 1950s. As a
result, some Jewish families lived close to one another. At least three families lived along Hance
Avenue between Union and 6th Street by the 1940s. By the early 1920s, Tuscarawas was also
home to an active chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, which targeted Jews along with Blacks and
Catholics. Local membership in the Klan peaked at around 10,000 under the leadership of
Robert Cox, and the Klan ran its own county newspaper, The Protestant Home Companion.
Klan-endorsed mayors were elected in Dover, New Philadelphia, Uhrichsville, and other
locations in the mid-1920s. During the 1930s, however, local Klan activity diminished
significantly. It was also during this decade that Jews in Tuscarawas began to organize to form a
congregation. This congregation was created in 1937 when the Jewish Center was established in
New Philadelphia. The Center’s first meetings were held within the Miller-Brown block along
First Drive SE. From its earliest days, the Center engaged in interfaith activities, and Christians
also supported the nascent congregation. At the dedication service for the Jewish Center,
Reverend Frank Cody of the First Presbyterian Church spoke. Other Christian ministers would
also be invited to speak to members from time to time.
By the late 1930s, Tuscarawas County was home to around 40 Jewish families. Included
among these families were the surnames Adelman, Adelstein, Bernstein, Bitterman, Falkoff,
Fisher, Greenberg, Hassin, Kofsky, Newpoff, Oster, Rapport, Schwartz, and Winston. Like
earlier Jewish residents, most of these families were supported by entrepreneurs. One of the most
notable new businesses was the H & A Drug Store in New Philadelphia, which was opened in
1929 by Samuel Hassin and Benjamin Adelman. This store would soon expand to include a
location in Uhrichsville. Other Jews involved in the company during its earliest years included
Edward Goldstein and Robert Oster. Additional Jewish-owned or managed businesses in New
Philadelphia during the 1930s included the Adelstein Metal Company, owned by Joseph
Adelstein, Falk’s Stores, owned by Sarah R. Falkoff, the Tuscarawas Avenue Wrecking
Company, owned by Nathan Bitterman, and the Tuscarawas Dry Goods Company, which was
managed by Benjamin Bernstein.
One entrepreneurial family which remains connected to New Philadelphia is the
Rapports. The first members of the Rapport family to arrive in Tuscarawas County were Esther
and Isaiah Rapport and their relatives Abraham, Joseph and Sarah Rapport. Esther and Isaiah
wed in Poland prior to their immigration to the United States around 1909. Abraham, the brother
of Isaiah, lived with the couple by 1910. Joseph, a native of Lomza, Poland, arrived in
Uhrichsville around 1918 and later moved to New Philadelphia. Like his relatives, Joseph was
involved in the scrap metal business. Around 1918, Joseph established his own scrap metal
business, the Joe Rapport Company, which would remain in operation for many decades.; In
1926 he married Sarah Barrack, who was born in Liverpool, England, and immigrated to the
United States with her parents in 1905. Joseph and Sarah had six children, and for a time Max
Rapport, Joseph’s father, also lived with the family. Joseph was particularly active in civic and
fraternal organizations. These organizations included the Chamber of Commerce, B’nai B’rith,
Elks, Modern Woodmen and Loyal Order of Moose. He also served for a time as president of the
Jewish Center and was a trustee of the congregation for many years. Sarah was also an active
member of the Tuscarawas County community. Her activities included serving as president of the
Jewish Center Sisterhood, which was organized in 1937, and maintaining memberships in
Hadassah, a Jewish women’s organization, and Modern Woodmen..
In 1937, Albert and Larry Rapport arrived in New Philadelphia to join their brother, Joseph. A sister, Sarah Regina Falkoff,
the wife of Louis Falkoff, also relocated to New Philadelphia. Albert and Larry were active in the auto wrecking business for decades.
At first, the brothers created a joint venture, the Tuscarawas Auto Wrecking Company. After some time, however, Larry elected to go into business for himself and he created an independent enterprise named Larry’s Auto Wrecking Company in Newcomerstown, Ohio. Albert continued to operate the Tuscarawas Auto Wrecking Company for many more years, and the business continues under the name Tuscarawas Auto Parts as of 2021.
Both brothers were active in the Jewish Center and held positions of leadership in local civic organizations. Most notably, Albert served as a commander in the American Legion, and he was also a member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter. Albert and Larry were both
married and they raised their families in Tuscarawas County. This made the Rapports the largest
Jewish family in the area. Doris was the wife of Larry, while Hilda was the wife of Albert.
From November 1937 to 1939, Joseph Wagner served as the first rabbi of the Jewish
Center. The ability to secure the services of a full-time rabbi testified to the high level of
organization attained by the families who comprised Tuscarawas County’s Jewish community
during the late 1930s. Joseph, who lived in Reading, Pennsylvania, before moving to New
Philadelphia, was a graduate of an Orthodox yeshiva. While Jewish families in Tuscarawas had
various levels of religious observance, local rabbis would tend to be Orthodox. Around 150
people attended an installation banquet held in February 1938 for Joseph including New
Philadelphia’s mayor, Arthur Williams, and the town’s Chief of
Police, Emery Gintz. Both figures delivered welcome
addresses. Rabbi Charles Latz of Temple Israel in Canton,
Reverend Frank Cody and Reverend Rodney Gould also spoke.
Under Joseph’s leadership, the Center offered daily religious
services and Hebrew school classes. Shabbat services were held
on both Friday and Saturday. In 1939, however, Joseph left New
Philadelphia for a position with a synagogue in Indiana,
Pennsylvania. Before leaving, however, Joseph married Betty
Zand of Oil City, Pennsylvania, at the New Philadelphia’s
Knights of Pythias Hall. Joseph was succeeded by Max Bensinger, who remained in town until
The Early Years of the Jewish Center
In March 1940, the Jewish Center was incorporated with the State of Ohio. Benjamin
Adelman, Benjamin Pilloff, Albert Schwartz, and Allen (Albert) Segal all signed the articles of
incorporation. While meetings were held most often in Center Hall, the congregation also owned
a residential property on Ray Avenue which was sold in 1942. In March 1943 the home of
James Thompson at 210 Fair Avenue NW was purchased and, over a period of two years,
converted into the new Jewish Center. The space included a kosher kitchen on the lower level, a
sanctuary space on the second floor, and classrooms for the Sunday school above. In earlier
years, the home had been the residence of Edward Eckert, a shoe merchant. Benjamin
Adelman, Lester Cohen, Joseph Rapport, and Albert Schwartz served on the building committee.
Members of the Jewish Center Sisterhood also played an important role in fundraising for the
Center. Called the Jewish Center Ladies’ Auxiliary in its earliest years, the Sisterhood organized
an annual donor dinner beginning in 1938.. Members also worked to support various other
charitable organizations. During World War II, these causes included the American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee and the Red Cross. The Jewish Center supported the war effort in other
ways as well. In September 1942, all local Jewish servicemen were given honorary membership
at the Center during their time in the armed forces. These individuals included Joseph
Adelstein, Benjamin Pilloff, and Albert Rapport.
It is of note that several newer members of the Jewish Center were practitioners of
medicine. Lester Cohen operated the Dover Pharmacy for over 30 years beginning around
1935. Samuel Winston also practiced in Dover, where he was an optometrist from
approximately 1928 to 1973. Benjamin Pilloff worked as a doctor in Uhrichsville from 1939 to
1964. The next major milestone for the Jewish Center occurred in July 1945, when the
renovations for the Center’s new building on Fair Avenue NW were completed. Several hundred
people attended the dedication services for the new center including many guests from outside
Tuscarawas County. Rabbi George Lieberman of Temple Israel in Canton gave the dedication
address. At the time, Albert Schwartz, owner of Schwartz’s Dress Shop in Dover, served as the
Center’s president. Some Tuscarawas County residents may remember Albert’s business by its
later name, Schwartz Apparel Incorporated. In addition to managing his business and assisting
the Jewish Center, Albert also served as exalted ruler of the Uhrichsville Elks Lodge and as
president of the Twin Cities Hospital Board. It is also of note that Albert purchased the space
occupied by his Dover shop in 1944 from an earlier Jewish entrepreneur, William Fienberg, a
previously referenced clothing merchant.
In 1949, Martin Halpern began his time as rabbi at the Jewish Center. Like his
predecessors, Martin received an Orthodox rabbinic ordination. By 1951, however, he left New
Philadelphia. The Center’s next rabbi, Chaim Gelernter, who was also known as Charles
Gelernter, arrived in 1951. A native of Belgium, Charles and his wife were among the few in
their family to escape the Nazis. Around the time the Gelernters moved to New Philadelphia,
the Center reached its period of greatest size. Newer Jewish families in Tuscarawas County
around 1950 included Fuerman, Goldberg, Guckenheimer, Herzfeld, Nevins, Rich and Rickel.
These newer households made their own contributions to
Tuscarawas County. Marjorie and Warren Fuerman moved to
New Philadelphia in 1947 after Warren took a position with
Daniel’s Dress Shop. Both individuals soon became active in
various civic organizations. Marjorie volunteered with the
YMCA, and Warren served as president of the Chamber of
Commerce and United Way. Also of note is Warren’s
involvement in the creation of the Monroe Mall, now known
as the Monroe Center, in the early 1970s. In this effort, he was
assisted by Stanley Eigner and Herbert Weiss, who were two
other Jewish businessmen.
Both Cecilia Goldberg and Sig Guckenheimer were local teachers. Cecilia, who, along
with her husband, Edward, changed her surname to Gilbert in 1955, worked as a high school
teacher in Uhrichsville. Sig, who was an active promoter of adult vocational education, worked
as an industrial arts teacher at New Philadelphia High School from around 1949 into the 1960s.
Jack Herzfeld operated a dental practice in New Philadelphia from circa 1949 into the late 1950s.
Ben Nevins owned the Tuscarawas Iron & Metal Company while Jacob Rich became involved in
the local media business when he purchased the Dover News Agency in 1945. During the
1950s to the 1960s, Jack and Shirley Rickel operated a children’s clothing store “Jack and Jill” in
New Philadelphia. It is also of note that Jack Rickel served as chairman of the merchants
Christmas committee in 1955. Jack and Shirley also took an active interest in The Little
Theater of Tuscarawas County and Jack was also a member of the Lions Club, Rotary, and the
Tuscarawas Chamber of Commerce.
Jewish Life in Tuscarawas County During the 1950s
During the 1950s Jewish life in Tuscarawas County reached its period of greatest activity.
In addition to hosting religious services, lifecycle events were also celebrated at the Jewish
Center. One of the earliest bar mitzvah ceremonies held at the Center occurred in 1947, when
Allen Oster, the son of Lillian and Robert Oster, reached the age of 13. Five years later Charles
Cohen, the son of Anne and Lester, marked his bar
mitzvah at the Center. Over a year later, in 1953, followed
the bar mitzvah of Herschel Pilloff, the son of Belle and
Ben. The Herschel bar mitzvah was particularly large,
with around 200 people attending a celebratory dinner
organized at the Elks Auditorium following the service.
Two years later, Gary Rich, the son of Cyril and Jacob,
marked his bar mitzvah at the Center. Weddings also
occurred at the Center. In 1952, Beverly Rapport was
married to Walter Cohen of New York at the Center.
Cecilia and Edward Goldberg also celebrated their wedding at the Jewish Center in 1952.
The Jewish Center Sisterhood continued to play an important role within the local Jewish
community. In 1954, the organization had around 35 members who sponsored both service and
social events. Charities supported by the Sisterhood included the National Foundation for
Infantile Paralysis and the United Jewish Appeal. Fundraisers, including bake sales and yard
sales, were also held for the Jewish Center. Sisterhood members maintained the Jewish religious
school and, beginning around 1958, the organization also operated a nursery school. Parents’
Day was also an annual affair at the Center. Sisterhood social traditions included card parties,
bowling outings, and picnics. Men also worked to support the Center and annual campaigns were
held for the United Jewish Appeal throughout much of the 1950s. The first known campaign
occurred in 1947.
From 1954 to 1955 Samuel Glassman served as rabbi of the Jewish Center. For the next
year, however, it is not known if the Center had a full-time rabbi. It is possible that lay leaders
conducted religious services and taught religious school classes during this time. In 1957, the
Jewish Center welcomed its longest-serving, and final rabbi, Paul Mandel. Paul came to the
Jewish Center at a time when a daily Hebrew school was still being held and religious services
were organized three times each week on Monday, Friday, and Saturday. Around 24 children
were enrolled in the Sunday School in 1957 and a “Junior Congregation” also led a children’s
service on Saturdays. During his time in New Philadelphia, Paul also participated in interfaith
activities, including programs organized by the local PTA. In addition to his responsibilities at
the Jewish Center, Paul also managed the Army & Navy Surplus Store in New Philadelphia. This
is the first record of a rabbi in Tuscarawas County having a job alongside that of a religious
teacher and the circumstance may hint at some challenges the Jewish Center was facing by the
late 1950s. It is of note that in 1957, the Jewish Center adopted the name Beth El Synagogue, but
the older Center name continued to be used in local news sources and by community
members.also marked the 20th anniversary of the Jewish Center, which was celebrated
with a dinner party. Guests at the event included Mayor Fred Schneider and 75 members of the
Jewish Center.Dorothy Fuldheim, a noted journalist from Cleveland, was the principal guest
Paul was married to Sandra, and the couple had three children, Barbara, Regina, and
Sally. A niece, Nanette also lived with the family for a time. Both Paul and Sandra were natives
of Romania and Holocaust survivors. In 1964, Sandra’s experiences, which included four months
in Auschwitz, were profiled in a series of pieces published by The Daily Times. One article
quoted Sandra as saying:
We were marched through the big camp [Auschwitz] that was planned like a city to barracks No.
32 in ‘C’ Camp. There were 950 women in this one barracks. We were assigned a bunk bed the
size of a double bed. Here for four months I was to sleep with thirteen other people. We slept
seven in one row and seven in another row, feet to feet, and when one person turned over,
thirteen others had to turn also… We could not go to the 200 toilets that served our barracks
unless we were told we could go. Those first weeks were spent in adjusting to doing nothing,
training our bladders, training our thoughts, training our stomachs to accept strange unappetizing
food. I saw my brother once at a distance and again on May 30th, I saw my brother march out of
‘C’ Lager. I never saw him again.
Born in the village of Barod, Sandra was just fifteen years old when World War II began in 1939.
She was the daughter of a rabbi and was the only person in
her family to survive the Holocaust. After the war, Sandra
lived in a displaced persons camp in Bregenz, Austria, where
she met Paul. The couple married on July 07, 1946, and
immigrated to the United States shortly after.
The Mandels were not the only contemporary Jewish
residents in Tuscarawas County to be affected by the Nazi’s
rise to power. Around 1957, Justin Isner moved to
Uhrichsville from Auburn, New York. A native of Germany,
Justin arrived in the United States in 1936, three years after
Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. A trained cantor, Justin found work with the B’nai
Israel synagogue in Auburn before moving to Tuscarawas. He also served in the United States
Army during World War II. He likely moved to Tuscarawas County to take a job as cantor at
the Jewish Center, and he was active with the Tuscarawas County Community Concert
Association. By 1967, he had relocated to Canton with his family.
During the mid to late 1950s, other Jews arrived in Tuscarawas County. These individuals
included Stanley Brody, Jeraldine and Stanley Eigner, Roy Geduldig, Howard Golden, Lewis and
Treva Jaffe, Donald Langman, and Robert Tolin. Love brought many of these people to
Tuscarawas. Stanley Brody married Libby Rapport, the daughter of Joseph and Sarah. Howard
Golden married Benah Falkoff, a daughter of Louis and Sarah, and opened a dental practice in
New Philadelphia. This practice would remain for 20 years. Donald Langman, a resident of
Cleveland, married Anna Rapport in 1959. Anna, who was the daughter of Doris and Larry, was
an active member of the Union Hospital Auxiliary and Dover Newcomers Club. Robert Tolin
married Marian Adelman, the daughter of Benjamin and Shirley, and from 1958 to 1968 he was
the co-owner of H & A Drug Store along with Joel Adelman.  H & A remained associated with
the Adelman family until 1971 when it was purchased by Colin Bayliss and eventually renamed
The Drug Mart.
Business opportunities also continued to draw residents to Tuscarawas. Jeraldine and
Stanley Eigner arrived in Dover in 1958 after Stanley purchased Schwartz Apparel Incorporated
from its founder, Albert Schwartz. Both Jeri and Stanley were active members of their new
community. Jeri volunteered in the local schools and she represented Judaism at some county
interfaith programs. Stanley served as a director of the Dover Retail Merchants Council and the
Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce. He also served as president of the Community
Improvement Corporation of Tuscarawas County and the Tuscarawas County Crippled
Children’s Society. Roy Geduldig moved to Dover in 1957 to open a pediatric practice. He
continued to practice medicine in the county until his retirement in 1994. Roy was a leader in
several medical efforts in Tuscarawas County. These roles included co-chairing the drive to
eradicate polio in Tuscarawas County. The polio vaccine was given over three Sundays for a
charge of 25 cents per dose. Roy was also active in the countywide drive in 1970 to immunize
school children against rubella and he played a key role in the construction of the present
Tuscarawas County Health District building. Lewis and Treva Jaffe arrived in New
Philadelphia in 1954 to open a branch of Jaffe’s, a women’s clothing store based out of Butler,
Pennsylvania. An estimated 5,000 people attended the grand opening of the store.While
Lewis and his family left New Philadelphia in 1960 for Michigan, the Jaffe business remained in
New Philadelphia into the 1970s.
The Closing Years of the Jewish Center
In 1960, the Jewish Center had around 60 members. This number was a decrease from a
high of around 96 members just a few years prior in the mid-1950s. By 1964, membership had
decreased to approximately 40. The reason for this multi-year decline was primarily due to
migration away from Tuscarawas County. This out-migration included local Jewish youths who
were moving away to begin university. Additionally, several families, including Brody, Herzfeld,
Isner, Pilloff, and Schwartz, moved out of Tuscarawas by the late 1960s. In 1965, Steven
Harsfell of Pittsburgh marked his bar mitzvah at the Jewish Center. He would be the last person
to celebrate this occasion at the synagogue. During this same year, Rabbi Paul Mandel
relocated to Wooster, Ohio, with his family to take a position with Knesseth Israel Temple. By
this time, the Jewish Center was too small to support a rabbi and so little to no efforts were made
to find a replacement.
Despite the decline in numbers, however, efforts were made to continue organized Jewish
life in Tuscarawas County. A youth group, Young Judea, existed as of 1960 with around six
members. In 1963, the Sisterhood celebrated its 25th anniversary with a dinner program. At the
time the organization had around 25 members. In
1964, Rosh Hashanah observances, which coincided
with Labor Day, received a lengthy article in The
Daily Times. An illuminated Star of David was also
erected in Tuscora Park for the first time in 1965 to
mark Hanukkah. This holiday light, which was
sponsored by the Sisterhood, was placed next to a
Christmas tree. Interfaith activities also continued to
be supported. For example, in 1963, children from the
First Methodist Church in New Philadelphia were
invited to the Mandel home for the holiday of Sukkot
and were given a tour of the Jewish Center. In this same year, the Sunday School class from
Emmanuel Lutheran Church also visited the Jewish Center.
Despite these efforts to continue Jewish religious activities and community outreach, by
1967 the Jewish Center became inactive due to a lack of membership. In October 1968, the
former Jewish Center was sold and the property razed to create a parking lot for Times-Reporter
employees. Jews living in Tuscarawas Counties
again traveled to Canton to attend religious services.
A few years later on March 28, 1975, the Tuscarawas
County Jewish Center as a legal entity was
dissolved. Warren Fuerman was the last president of
the organization. While the closing of the Jewish
Center marked the end of organized Jewish life in
Tuscarawas County, Jews continued to make
contributions to the area. For example, Michael and
Miriam Rapport, were both active with the Little
Theatre of Tuscarawas County and in local
organizations focusing on education. Michael served on the New Philadelphia Board of
Education and Miriam was a leader in the New Philadelphia Education Association, a local
teacher’s union. A small Jewish population continues to live in Tuscarawas County as of 2021.
While never numbering more than one percent of the overall population, Jewish Americans have
made an enduring impact in Tuscarawas County. As memories of the former Tuscarawas County
Jewish Center fade, it is hoped that this works serves as a record of this unique community.
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1 “Observe Parents’ Day at County Jewish Center,” Daily Times (New Philadelphia), May 17, 1955.
2 “Simon Wolf, Seventy-Five Years Old,” Jewish Independent (Cleveland), October 27, 1911.
3 Esther Panitz, Simon Wolf Private Conscience and Public Image: Associated University Presses, 1987,
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4 “Simon Wolf, Seventy-Five Years Old,” Jewish Independent, October 27, 1911.
6 “Ranks High Among the Leading Physicians in the Capitol [sic] City,” Ohio Jewish Chronicle
(Columbus), October 07, 1927.
7 John Mansfield, The History of Tuscarawas County, Ohio, Chicago: Warner, Beers & Co., 1884, 828.
8 “Loeb-Steinfeld,” American Israelite (Cincinnati), July 29, 1887.
9 John Mansfield, The History of Tuscarawas County, Ohio, 828.
10 “Indictments,” News-Democrat (Uhrichsville & Dennison), October 08, 1901.
11 “Joseph Fried, 74, Dover, Dies,” Daily Times, November 15, 1941.
12 “Joseph Fried, 74, Dover, Dies,” Daily Times, November 15, 1941.
13 “Sid Fried`of Dover Claimed,” Daily Times, September 25, 1919.
14 “Joseph Fried, 74, Dover, Dies,” Daily Times, November 15, 1941.
15 Charles Cooper, “The Story of the Jews of Canton,” Jewish Criterion (Pittsburgh), December 28, 1918,
16 “Relief for the Jews of Europe and Palestine,” American Israelite (Cincinnati), February 17, 1916.
17 “Raise Quarter Million Dollars for Keren Hayesod,” Sentinel (Chicago), January 27, 1922.
18 Phyllis Markworth, interview by author, phone, 2021.
19 “A Voice From Tuscarawas,” Jewish Independent, March 21, 1924.
20 Jon Baker, “History: Farm Key to Klan Activities,” Times-Reporter (New Philadelphia), May 10, 2010,
22 “Dinner Celebrates Jewish Center’s 20th Anniversary,” Daily Times, May 20, 1957.
23 Fred Shearer, “Cody Jewish Meet Speaker,” Daily Times, November 26, 1937.
24 “List Activities of Jewish Center,” Daily Times, December 15, 1937.
25 Fred Shearer, “Cody Jewish Meet Speaker,” Daily Times, November 26, 1937.
26 “Joe Rapport, Prominent Scrap Dealer, Claimed,” Daily Times, March 18, 1957.
27 “Sarah Rapport Dies in Buffalo,” Daily Reporter (Dover), October 10, 1961.
28 “Joe Rapport, Prominent Scrap Dealer, Claimed,” Daily Times, March 18, 1957.
29 “Sarah Rapport Dies in Buffalo,” Daily Reporter, October 10, 1961.
30 Obituary of Larry Rapport, Cleveland Jewish News, June 04, 1982.
31 “Native of Poland is New Legion Commander Here,” Daily Times, June 26, 1964.
32 “Local Rabbi is Installed,” Daily Times, February 07, 1938.
33 “Miss Betty Zand to Wed Rabbi Wagner,” Daily Times, March 20, 1939.
34 “Jewish Center to Sell Local Home,” Daily Times, October 22, 1942.
35 “Razing of Home Ends Phila Era,” Times-Reporter, October 17, 1968.
36 “Jewish Sisterhood Has 16th Annual Donor’s Dinner,” Daily Times, April 15, 1954.
37 “Announce Jewish Red Cross Gifts,” Daily Times, January 22, 1942.
38 “Jewish Service Men [sic] are Honored,” Daily Times, September 10, 1942.
39 “They Want Your Votes,” Daily Reporter, October 07, 1965.
40 Obituary of Samuel Winston, Times-Reporter, April 17, 1973.
41 “Uh’ville Doctor Moves to Canton,” Daily Reporter, March 20, 1964.
42 “Looking Backward,” Daily Times, July 09, 1955.
43 “Albert Schwartz Succumbs at 68,” Daily Reporter, May 22, 1967.
44 “New Rabbi at Jewish Center Here,” Daily Times, September 16, 1949.
45 Joe Klosterman, “Local Rabbi Only Member of His Family to Escape Death at Hands of Nazis,” Daily
Times, October 09, 1951
46 Jim Eaton, “Monroe Mall was Born From Necessity,” Times-Reporter (New Philadelphia), April 30,
48 “Bride-to-Be is Honored at Shower,” Daily Times, August 26, 1952.
49 “News of Yesteryear,” Daily Reporter, September 30, 1965.
50 “Mayor Plans Trip to North Pole to Arrange Santa Visit,” Daily Times, November 15, 1955.
51 “Little Theater Beehive of Activity,” Daily Times, May 16, 1967.
52 “Bar Mitzvah,” Jewish Independent, July 04, 1947.
53 “Beverly Rapport Exchanges Vows with a New York Man,” Daily Times, December 29, 1952.
54 “Bride-to-Be is Honored at Shower,” Daily Times, August 26, 1952.
55 “Jewish Sisterhood Has 16th Annual Donor’s Dinner,” Daily Times, April 15, 1954.
56 “Jewish Sisterhood Schedules Events,” Daily Reporter, September 10, 1958.
57 “Observe Parents’ Day at County Jewish Center,” Daily Times, May 17, 1955.
58 “Pastor Resigns,” Daily Reporter, July 09, 1955.
59 “Rename Jewish Center as ‘Beth El’ Synagogue,” Daily Reporter, May 20, 1957.
60 “Dinner Celebrates Jewish Center’s 20th Anniversary,” Daily Times, May 20, 1957.
61 Sandra Mandel, interview by Sally Steis, Daily Times, July 03, 1964.
62 Cleveland Jewish News, February 15, 1985, p B-31.
63 “County Concert Group Picks New Officers,” Daily Reporter, August 05, 1958.
64 “Justin Isner Concert Slated at Kent Branch,” Times-Reporter, October 24, 1970.
65 “To be Bride of Stanley E. Brody,” Daily Times, November 25, 1955.
66 Obituary of Benah Golden, Repository (Canton), August 08, 2006.
67 Karen Quillin, “Culinary Corner,” Daily Reporter, July 15, 1961.
68 “H&A Drug Store in Phila is Sold,” Times-Reporter, February 16, 1968.
69 “H & A Has New Location, Name,” Times-Reporter, November 21, 1974.
70 Jim Eaton, “Monroe Mall was Born From Necessity,” Times-Reporter, April 30, 1974.
72 Obituary of Roy Geduling, Times-Reporter, July 20, 2012.
74 “Owners of Jaffe’s Store Express Confidence in Area,” Daily Reporter, February 24, 1954.
75 “5,000 People at Opening of New Jaffe Store Here,” Daily Times, February 26, 1954.
76 “Purim Dinner at Jewish Center,” Daily Times, March 15, 1960.
77 “Observe Parents’ Day at County Jewish Center,” Daily Times, May 17, 1955.
78 “40 are Present at Purim Party,” Daily Reporter, March 02, 1964.
79 “Jewish Sisterhood,” Daily Times, September 16, 1965.
80 “Rabbi Mandel of Wooster Dies,” Cleveland Jewish News, April 01, 1977.
81 “Young Judea,” Daily Reporter, November 22, 1960.
82 “Sisterhood Observes 25th Anniversary,” Daily Reporter, November 19, 1963.
83 “County Jews Observe New Year 5725,” Daily Times, September 01, 1964.
84 “Women Sponsored Star of David,” Daily Times, December 30, 1965.
85 “Sisterhood,” Daily Reporter, November 05, 1963.
86 “St. Paul’s Class,” Daily Times, November 21, 1963.
87 “Razing of Home Ends Phila Era,” Times-Reporter, October 17, 1968.
89 “Notice,” Times-Reporter, December 27, 1975.
90 “Rapport Heads Phila Board,” Times-Reporter, January 05, 1971.