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Of Bill Clinton, Bagels and 9 Other Things About (Jewish) Arkansas

1) 1,725 Jews live in Arkansas.

2) In the early 1820’s, Abraham Block, a store owner, became the first Jew to settle in Arkansas.

3) Little Rock’s B’nai Israel, founded in 1866, is the state’s oldest Jewish congregation.

4) In the early 1880’s, a group of Jewish pioneers from New York founded the Am Olam settlement near Newport, Arkansas.

5) NPR’s Margot Adler, granddaughter of psychotherapist Alfred Adler, was born in Little Rock.

Filmmakers and brothers Joel Coen (left) and Ethan Coen (right) Image by Getty images

6) The Coen Brothers’ “True Grit” was based on the novel of the same title by Charles Portis who was born in El Dorado and attended college at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

7) In 2004, Etz Chaim, Bentonville’s first Jewish congregation was founded.

8) Although a decent bagel is difficult to come by in the Razorback state, Little Rock’s Morningside Bagels has been offering the closest thing to a New York bagel experience since it opened in 2007.

9) Chelsea Clinton, who married Marc Mezvinsky in an interfaith ceremony in 2010, was born in Little Rock.

10) The Jewish Federation of Arkansas holds an annual Jewish food festival in the spring at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.

11) In 2014, the University of Arkansas’s Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences announced the creation of a new Jewish studies program.


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