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