One of the Middle Atlantic states and one of the thirteen original states of the United States of America; seceded from the Union April 17, 1861; readmitted 1870. As early as 1624 the names of Elias Lagardo, Joseph Moise, and Rebecca Isaacke are found in the "Musters of the Inhabitants of Virginia." In 1658 one Seignor Moses Nehemiah is mentioned as a party to a lawsuit ("Publ. Am. Jew. Hist. Soc.," xi. 70). It is probable that a number of Jews from Maryland removed to Richmond at an early date.

Nothing further is heard of Virginia Jews till 1754, when Michael Franks and Jacob Myer accompanied Washington in his expedition across the Alleghany Mountains, and received a reward for their gallant services in the campaign. In the list of Virginians who served in the Revolutionary army in the capacity of officers occurs the name of Isaac Israel, a lieutenant in the Eighth Virginia Regiment. The Congregation Beth-Shalom of Richmond, the oldest congregation in the state, was in existence prior to 1790, in which year it joined with the congregations of Philadelphia, New York, and Charleston in addressing a letter to President Washington. See Richmond.

Virginia has the following Jewish communities: Alexandria (Congregation Beth-El, founded June 3, 1878; a Hebrew Benevolent Society and a cemetery). Berkley (a congregation and a religious school). Charlottesville (Congregation Beth Israel, Moses Leterman being prayer-leader; and a cemetery). Clifton Forge (a congregation holding holyday services). Danville (Congregation Beth Sholom). East Radford (congregation). Fredericksburg (Hebrew Aid Society, founded about 1880; has twelve members). Hampton (congregation). Harrisonburg (congregation). Lynchburg (congregation). Newport News (congregations Adath Yeshurun and Hachnosath Orchim; and a Jewish Sunday-school). Norfolk (with a large Jewish community, supporting three congregations, a burial association, several charitable organizations, and a number of social and literary clubs). Petersburg (two congregations: the Orthodox congregation and the Rodeph Shalem, the latter founded in 1865). Pocahontas (has no organized congregation, but the community holds special services on Saturdays and holy days). Radford (community holding holyday services). Richmond (see Jew. Encyc. x. 406). Roanoke (Congregation Emanu-El, founded 1890; and a cemetery). Staunton (a congregation and a benevolent society).

Virginia contributed 113 Jewish soldiers to the Civil war, and about thirty to the Spanish-American war. At present (1905) the number of its Jewish inhabitants is estimated at 15,000 in a total population of 1,655,980.

A. A. M. Ho.
Images of pages