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Of Neiman Marcus, Kinky Friedman and 12 Other Things About (Jewish) Texas

1) 158,505 Jews live in Texas.

2) The state’s first Jewish cemetery was established in Galveston in 1852.

3) Texas’s first Jewish congregation, Congregation Beth Israel, was founded in Houston in 1859.

4) Abraham Neiman and Stanley Marcus founded the Neiman Marcus department store in Dallas in 1907.

5) Olga Bernstein Kohlberg opened Texas’s first public kindergarten in El Paso in 1893.

6) E.M. Kahn and Company, founded in 1872 by Emanuel Kahn, was Dallas’s first air-conditioned store.

7) Born in 1905, Abraham Zapruder, a Jewish immigrant from Russia, was working in the Dal-Tex building across from the street from the Texas School Book Depository on the day he made the infamous “Zapruder film” that documented John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Jack Ruby in a Dallas mug shot after he was charged with killing JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Image by wikipedia

8) Dallas nightclub operator Jack Ruby (born Jacob Leon Rubenstein), was found guilty of murdering JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on November 24, 1963.

9) The Texas-based band Asleep at the Wheel is fronted by Ray Benson, who was born Ray Benson Seifert in Philadelphia.

10) Michael Dell, founder of Dell, Inc. was born to a Jewish family in Dallas in 1965.

11) Joe Straus, the current speaker in Texas’s House of Representatives, is Texas’s first Jewish speaker of the house.

12) Elected mayor of Austin in 1975, Jeffrey Friedman became known as the “hippie mayor.”

13) Adlene Harrison became the first Jewish mayor of Houston in 1976,

14) In 2006, Kinky Friedman ran as an independent candidate for governor of Texas and received 12.6% of the vote.

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