by the Forward

Of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and 11 Other Facts About Jewish Oklahoma

1) 4,650 Jews live in Oklahoma.

2) Isaac Lowenstein opened Oklahoma’s first vaudeville house in 1909.

3) Seymour Heyman, who ran The Hub clothing store owned the Oklahoma City Mets, a baseball team that played in the Southwestern League and Western Association in the first decade of the 20th century.

4) The inventor of the shopping cart, Sylvan Nathan Goldman, was born in Ardmore.

5) The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa boasts the largest collection of Judaica in the southwest.

6) The character of the peddler Ali Hakim in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” was played in the 1955 film by Eddie Albert.

7) In 1959, Oklahoma-born actress Joan Crawford was honored by the United Jewish Appeal for her commitment to humanitarian causes.

8) Written by Jewish songsmith Johnny Marks, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was made famous by Oklahoma-bred performer (and later baseball owner) Gene Autry.

9) Professional wrestler Bill Goldberg was born in Tulsa.

10) The paternal grandfather of Kathie Lee Gifford, who studied at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, was a Russian Jew.

11) Temple B’nai Israel in Oklahoma City, is the state’s oldest congregation.

12) In 2013, Oklahoma state representative Dennis Johnson offered a tepid apology for using the term “Jew me down” on the house floor.

Of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and 11 Other Facts About Jewish Oklahoma


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and 11 Other Facts About Jewish Oklahoma

Thank you!

This article has been sent!