Institute of Texan Cultures' Texans Series
Jewish Texans came from many countries, not just one. Most early Jewish settlers in the late 1800s and early 1900s came from Germany and eastern European countries, such as Russia, Poland, Lithuania, and Austria-Hungary. A few came from countries like Spain, Mexico and Syria. They all spoke different languages.
Although they came from different places, the Jewish people are alike in many ways. They share a history and religion passed down from an ancient group of people who lived in Canaan, now Israel. Their holy book, the Torah, is written in Hebrew, a language of those people from Canaan.
Almost 2,000 years ago, the Jews had to leave their homeland. They settled in many different parts of the world and took their customs with them. In some countries they were not allowed to practice their religion. Many Jews who wished to keep their Jewish customs and traditions came to Texas.