Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Culture

10 Things About (Jewish) Arizona

1) 106,300 Jews live in Arizona.

2) Arizona’s first known Jewish resident was Dr. Herman Bendell who, in 1870, was nominated to be the state’s first Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

3) Since there were few women in the Arizona territory, early Jewish settlers traveled elsewhere to find wives. In 1884, 21 of these brides founded the Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society of Tucson.

4) The Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society raised funds to build the state’s first synagogue, Temple Emanu-el in Tucson, in 1910. Its original location (now Historic Stone Avenue Temple) was restored in 2000 to become the site of the Jewish History Museum.

5) Though he was an Episcopalian, Arizona senator and 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was heir to his Jewish father’s department store fortune.

6) Actress and entertainer Sandra Bernhard attended Saguaro High School in Scottsdale.

7) Irving Berlin reportedly wrote the song “White Christmas” while lounging by the pool at the Arizona Biltmore hotel.

8) Comedian and star of the eponymous “It’s Gary Shandling’s Show” and the not-eponymous “Larry Sanders Show,” Gary Shandling grew up in Tucson. His family ran a print shop and a pet store.

9) The grandfather of former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, changed his name from Akiba Hornstein to Akiba Giffords.

10) U.S. champion figure skater Max Aaron was born to a Jewish family in Scottsdale.

Engage

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.