Third largest city in the state of Pennsylvania and capital of Lackawanna county. Jews settled there when the place was still called Harrison or Slocum's Hollow, the present name having been given to the city about 1850. The first Jew to hold public office was Joseph Rosenthal, who was Scranton's first, and for a long time its only, policeman. This was in 1860, when the population numbered but 8,500. The first Jewish congregation was organized in 1858, and was reconstituted in 1860 under the name "Anshe Ḥesed." In 1866 the synagogue on Linden street was built, it being the first building reared exclusively as a Jewish place of worship in Lackawanna county. This edifice, after having been twice rebuilt, was sold to the first Polish congregation in 1902, when the present temple, situated on Madison avenue near Vine street, was dedicated. E. K. Fisher was the first rabbi; and his successors were Rabbis-Cohn, Weil, Sohn, Eppstein, Freudenthal, Löwenberg, Feuerlicht, and Chapman; A. S. Anspacher is the present (1905) incumbent. There are now about 5,000 Jews in Scranton in a total population of 105,000. They support, in all, five congregations, and two Hebrew schools holding daily sessions. One of the latter, the Montefiore Hebrew School, has a well-equipped corps of teachers and an enrolment of about 200 male pupils. The other school, larger in point of attendance, possesses its own house, situated on the south side of the city, and is supported entirely by the large Hungarian community.
The more important charitable organizations are: the Hebrew Ladies' Relief Society, the Ladies' Aid Society, the Deborah Verein, the South Side Relief Society, the Kitchen Garden School, and the Industrial Aid Society, a branch of the New York Removal Office.
Although the Jews are chiefly merchants and there are but few manufacturers among them, they are well represented in the legal and medical professions. For fourteen years a Jew active in communal work was president of the board of education; and he was subsequently appointed director of public safety, the second highest office of the municipality.