One of the northern central states of the United States; admitted to the Union in 1861. In 1830 immigrants settled in a spot which they named "Kansas City." It is supposed that Jews also settled there at an early date; and they probably joined the other immigrants of Kansas City, Mo., in religious affairs.
Leavenworth was the first city in the state which had a Jewish congregation. Its first town lots were sold Oct. 9, 1854. Within a year there were enough Jews to form a minyan, and in 1859 they organized a congregation under the name "B'nai Jeshurun," renting a room on Delaware street for the purposes of worship. A lot five miles west of the city was purchased at the same time and converted into a cemetery. In 1864 a lot was purchased at Sixth and Osage streets and a synagogue erected on it; later, accommodations for a Sabbath-school and vestry-rooms were added. The name of Henry Ettenson has been closely connected with the synagogue from the beginning to the present day. The following rabbis have officiated: Jacobs, Kalish, Machol, Brill, Saft, Raphael, Stemple, Meyers, Rubenstein, Rosenspitz, Marks, Frey, and Kahn. The Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Society was organized in 1861. In 1881 an Orthodox congregation was formed under the name "House of Jacob," the older congregation having adopted the Reform method of worship and the Jastrow prayer-book. The Jewish population of Leavenworth is about 400.
Topeka, the capital of the state, has a small number of Jews; and services are held on holy days. The community possesses a school, a cemetery, and a ladies' benevolent society. A congregation was organized at Kansas City under the name of "Ohabei Sholem" in 1900.
In Atchison, Cawker City, Hutchinson, Lawrence, Salina, and Wichita there are but few Jews, holding holy day services only. At Atchison there is a Jewish cemetery. At Holton, Wyandotte City, and some other places there are three or four Jewish families, which attend holy day services at the places named or at Kansas City.
The present (1904) Jewish population of the state of Kansas is estimated at 3,000.
- A. T. Andreas, History of Kansas;
- Annals of the State of Kansas;
- Publ. of the Kansas State Historical Society, v.;
- Archives of the Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Leavenworth;
- American Jewish Year Book, 1900-1.