AKRON


AKRON, industrial city in northeast Ohio. Akron is Ohio's fifth largest city, with a population of 217,074 (2000 census). German Jewish merchants settled in Akron prior to the Civil War, but the first congregation, the American Hebrew Association – known today as Temple Israel (Reform) – was founded in 1865. The community grew slowly until it received an influx of settlers from Eastern Europe in the 1880s. Engaging in the clothing business, cigar making, and other small businesses, the Jewish population reached a peak of 7,500 in the 1930s. In 2005, there were approximately 3,500 Jews in Akron and its suburbs with five congregations: Anshe Sfard/Revere Road (Orthodox, founded 1915), Chabad of Akron (Orthodox, 1986), Beth El Congregation (Conservative, 1946), Temple Beth Shalom (Reform, 1977), and Temple Israel (Re- form, 1965). The Jewish Community Board of Akron, founded in 1935 as the Federation of Jewish Charities, announced in 2004 that its director would also lead the Jewish Federation of Canton, Ohio, a neighboring city with a Jewish population of approximately 1,200. The Jewish Community Board offers support to the Shaw Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Family Service, the Jerome Lippman Day School, and the Akron Jewish News. It also provides funding for campus services to Kent State University, the University of Akron, and Hiram College. Noted Akron residents were Judith A. *Resnik (1949–1986), a NASA astronaut who perished in the explosion of the orbiter Challenger, and Jerome Lippman (1913–2005) who invented a heavy-duty waterless hand soap during World War II.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

J.A. Avner, "Judaism," in: T.S. Butalia and D.P. Small (eds.), Religion in Ohio (2004); H. Kaplan, "Century of Adjustment: A History of the Akron Jewish Community, 1865–1975," unpublished dissertation, Kent State University (1978). WEBSITE:www.jewishakron.org.

[Jane Avner (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.