Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

8 Facts About Jewish Missouri

1. Approximately 59,000 Jews live in Missouri.

2. Mark Twain’s relationship with Jews in Missouri was complicated. The Levys were the only Jewish family in his hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. As a kid, Twain joined other kids in his community in hazing the Levy kids. Only later in life did he become something of a philo-Semite.

3. Bootlegger Max Greenberg was a prominent figure in Missouri’s underground during Prohibition.

4. Edward ‘Eddie’ Jacobson, the close friend of President Harry S. Truman who convinced him to back the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, moved to Kansas City, Missouri with his parents when he was twelve.

5. Missouri Jews helped Jews fleeing the Holocaust. In the 30s and 40s, it became progressively more difficult for Jews to flee Europe and gain entry into the United States. The Missouri Jewish community helped European Jewish refugees gain entrance and employment in the US.

6. All-star pitcher Kenny Holtzman — who played for the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland A’s — was born in St. Louis.

7. So was cartoonist Al Hirschfeld, who lived to the age of 99 and was best known for his caricatures of show business stars.

8. Forget Philadelphia. You can thank Missouri Jews for cream cheese — really. Founded in 1888 by Jewish Lithuanian immigrants as The Raskas Dairy Company, Raskas Foods was America’s first commercial manufacturer of cream cheese The small business began as a neighborhood milk delivery company in St. Louis, Missouri, and over the course of a century became a major US dairy provider.The Raskas family is still a prominent Orthodox St.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.