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Four Founders

At the beginning of the 19th century there were fewer than two thousand Jews in the United States; by century's end the number had risen to over a million. Synagogues increased in number from a half dozen to over eight hundred, charitable and educational institutions were founded, cultural and fraternal organizations were established and a periodical press in four languages was developed.
During this time, American Jewry also evolved from a tiny, hardly noticed presence in a few Eastern seaboard cities, to a visible factor in the social, economic, cultural, religious and political life of the American nation.
The Library of Congress is a rich storehouse of records that document those Jews who helped shape the nation. We choose four participants to represent the many: