TAMPA


TAMPA, city in Hillsborough County, located on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay. Tampa was graced by early Spanish explorers in the 16th century. It has its origin in 1824 when Fort Brooke was erected to keep watch on the Seminole Indians. Probably the first permanent Jewish settler in the area was Emmaline Quentz Miley in 1846, whose husband was a Scotsman whom she made sell his slaves before their marriage. They had 12 children; she died in Hillsborough County in 1907. With the arrival of Henry Plant and the South Florida Railroad in 1884, the discovery of vast deposits of phosphates, and the relocation of the cigar industry from Key West in 1886, Tampa became a center of growth. Glogowski, Maas, Kaunitz, Brash, Oppenheimer, Wolf, and Wohl are some of the Jewish families who settled during this boom period. Most lived in Ybor City and were active in commerce, a few in the cigar industry. Herman Glogowski, a Jew who served as mayor for four terms, officiated in 1888 at the cornerstone ceremony for the Tampa Bay Hotel that opened in 1891. Glogowski had emigrated from Germany and established a clothing store in Tampa by 1884. He became "permanent president" of the first congregation. In 1894, 31 men and women met in the home of M. Henry Cohen to organize Schaarai Zedek as an Orthodox congregation; a Torah was purchased for $75. Rabbi D. Jacobson became the first spiritual leader and Abe Maas was among the founders. The Maas family came from Germany in the 1880s. The first store of Abe and Isaac Maas in Tampa opened in 1886, marking the beginning of one of the largest department store chains in Florida that lasted 105 years. Morris Wolf of Germany immigrated to Tampa in 1895. He worked at Maas Brothers until 1898 when he left to open a custom clothing store that became Wolf Brothers in 1899; his brother, Fred, joined him. The Cuban War of Independence in 1898 brought prosperity to local businessmen. Relatives from Key West, Ocala, and Jacksonville gravitated to Tampa, many from Romanian background. Isadore Kaunitz who opened Blanco Clothing Store in 1891 in Ybor City first employed most Romanian Jews. The Rippa family emigrated from Romania to Key West, then to Tampa when the cigar industry declined in Key West, and opened their own cigar factory in Ybor City in 1904. German-born Henry Brash came with his family first to Marianna, FL, where in 1879 he was elected mayor (Florida's earliest known Jewish mayor). Henry married Sarah Zelnicker in 1888 and they settled in Tampa in 1894. He opened a haberdashery store and was a founder of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in 1903, when there was dissension between the Reform and Orthodox members of Schaarai Zedek. A 1902 lawsuit brought by the Orthodox faction of the congregation regarding "dirty tricks" used by the "Reformers" to take control of the congregation and the building resulted in Schaarai Zedek becoming Reform and a new Orthodox congregation, Rodeph Sholom. Sarah Brash organized the Tampa section of the National Council of Jewish Women in 1924. Max Argintar, another Romanian, arrived in Tampa in 1902, opened his store in 1908; son Sammy continued what was to be a 96-year-old operation in the same location.

By the end of World War I, Tampa's Jewish community was the second largest in the state, partly as a result of a dizzying real estate boom. Growth propelled the Jewish community to dedicate new synagogues, expand their synagogue school programs, and inaugurate youth clubs. Jews were active in civic affairs and held leadership positions. "Salty" Sol Fleischman, "The Dean of Florida's Sportscasters," got behind a microphone on radio WDAE in 1928, wrote sports columns for the Tampa Tribune and went on television in 1957. He broadcast almost every sports event in the area for more than 50 years. With the advent of World War II, Tampa's shipyards were reactivated and MacDill Air Force Base was established, as was Drew Field, now Tampa International Airport. Tampa's Jews patriotically joined the war effort. The Young Men's Hebrew Association had been started in 1906 and after the war, the YMHA became the Jewish Community Center. Hadassah began and the Dictators Club was one of the Jewish fraternities in Tampa in the 1930s. It became the Tampa chapter of AZA, a youth group of B'nai B'rith. Rabbi David L. Zielonka served Congregation Schaarai Zedek from 1930 to 1970. He and Clarence Darrow joined with other religious leaders in 1931 in an interfaith debate. When the University of Tampa opened in 1931, Rabbi Zielonka served on the faculty, and in 1963 he became head of the department of Religious Studies. B'nai B'rith Women began in the mid-1940s to work on projects to aid Israel and the local community. Post-World War II development and migration from the north spurred growth in the Jewish community. During the 1950s and 1960s, civil rights led to intense debate within the Jewish community while Zionism received near unanimous support. The full impact of the Holocaust intensified educational programs in synagogue and organizational life. In 1958 Stanford and Millard Newman bought a cigar factory and actively participated in the resurgence in cigar manufacturing in the 1960s. Dr. Richard Hodes was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1966, where he served for 16 years and gave the nominating speech for Jimmy Carter at the Florida Democratic Convention in 1975. Attorney Harry N. Sandler served in the Florida legislature from 1932 to 1935 and was a sponsor of the Homestead Exemption Amendment. Appointed to the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court in 1935, he served until 1964. Sandra Warshaw Freedman entered politics in 1974 as a city councilwoman and became the chair in 1983. In 1986, Sandra Freedman was elected the first woman mayor of Tampa. Jerome Waterman played a major part in the growth of aviation in Tampa, was an associate of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker in the formation of Eastern Airlines and wrote books and newspaper columns. The Tampa Jewish Welfare Federation served as the coordinating agency for charitable and philanthropic work in the Jewish community under the Tampa Jewish Community Council, which was formed in 1969. By the 1970s, the Jewish community dedicated new congregations (Beth Am, Kol Ami, Temple David, Jewish Congregation of Sun City Center, Chabad Lubavitch, and Young Israel), established Hillel Day School and built facilities for the elderly (Mary Walker Apartments, Jewish Towers, and Menorah Manor). A Fred Shochet publication, The Jewish Floridian, made its Tampa debut on April 6, 1979; the local editor was Judy Rosenkranz. Jews have remained in the forefront of political life and have rallied to support all civic and cultural causes. Frank Weaner sued the Ku Klux Klan in 1977. Helen Gordon served in the Florida Legislature beginning in 1974 both in the House and Senate. Ron Glickman won his first election in 1984 as a Hillsborough County commissioner, then was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1986. James Shimberg was inducted into the National Housing Hall of Fame in 1985. Native Tampa brothers Martin and Myron Uman have made significant contributions in science. Martin is an internationally known expert in lightning research at the University of Florida. Myron joined the National Research Council in 1975, and in 1986 was appointed executive director of the research panel advising NASA on the redesign of the shuttle's booster rockets. Growing up in Tampa in the 1930s, Elinor Rosenthal Ross advanced to stardom at the Metropolitan Opera in New York; among her famous performances was the lead in La Traviata in 1965. In 1984, J. Leonard Levy was chair of the Super Bowl XVIII Task Force; in 1991 he served as co-chair of Super Bowl XXV. Malcolm Glazer, who owns the NFL team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in May 2005 purchased the world's largest soccer team, Manchester United, and has attracted to Tampa the 2009 Super Bowl. Many of the families who settled over a century ago have fourth generations living in Tampa. In the early 21st century the Jewish population was approximately 25,000 in a general population of about 330,000. In 1995 the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation merged on the 21-acre campus that also houses the Weinberg Village Senior Residences. The Jewish Press of Tampa, established in 1985, is published in cooperation with the Jewish Federation. The community is growing and new congregations are forming in areas outside the core of the city. Current congregations include Schaarai Zedek (Reform), Rodeph Sholom (Conservative), Bais David (Orthodox), Bais Tefilah (Orthodox), Beth Am (Reform), Kol Ami (Conservative), and Young Israel (Orthodox). In operation are a Hillel at University of South Florida, two day schools, two mikva'ot, and branches of many national and Israeli organizations.

[Marcia Jo Zerivitz (2nd ed.)]


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