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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.

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