Celebrating Orange County's Jewish History

Dalia Taft, archivist of the Orange County Jewish Historical Society highlights images from the archives every month. Her columns are also featured in JLife magazine. To view earlier articles, contact Dalia at History@JFFS.org.

A Little More Energetic and Persevering…

Orange County has long been perceived as having a higher percentage of anti-Semitism than other parts of California. The truth, as usual, is a bit more complicated. As seen in this 1921 editorial in the Santa Ana Register (today’s Orange County Register), there were individuals in position…

President Isaac Cohen

Born in Strassburg, Prussia in 1848, Isaac Cohen arrived in Los Angeles in 1868 and became a U.S. citizen on July 20, 1871.  Five years later, he and his two younger brothers Leopold and Max moved to Anaheim to run the general store Isaac had purchased, and this is where he began his active…

Mrs. Jack Finkelstein

Orange County’s first Conservative congregation, Temple Beth Emet of Anaheim, was founded in 1956 and was the second synagogue in the growing Jewish community.  Long-time members Jack and Elaine Finkelstein have served in many capacities over the years, including Jack as president of the …

The House of Hippolyte

Hippolyte (pronounced “Hippo-leet”) Cahen was born in Oran, Algeria in 1847 and emigrated to the U.S. as a young man. He lived for a short time in San Francisco before moving to Anaheim, and ten years later, in 1878, he became a naturalized citizen. Cahen quickly rose to a position of pr…

Isaias Hellman’s Seal Beach Ranch

Isaias Wolf Hellman (1842-1920), a leading West Coast Jewish pioneer, is best known as a banker and philanthropist with strong ties to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Less well-known is the fact that he owned a working ranch in Seal Beach for over 30 years. In 1881, cousins John and Jotham Bi…