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Joseph Newmark

Joseph Newmark (1799–1881) was a Prussian-born immigrant to the United States who co-founded B'nai Jeshurun in New York City and Congregation B'nai B'rith, now known as the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the oldest synagogue in Los Angeles. He later became a rabbi.

Joseph Newmark
Neumark, West Prussia (now Poland)
Los Angeles, California
Spouse(s)Rosa Levy Newmark
ChildrenMatilda Newmark Kremer
Myer J. Newmark
Sarah Newmark
Caroline Newmark Lazard
Edward Newmark
Harriet Newmark Meyer
RelativesHarris Newmark (nephew and son-in-law)
Maurice Kremer (son-in-law)
Solomon Lazard (son-in-law)
Marc Eugene Meyer (son-in-law)
Eugene Isaac Meyer (grandson)
Florence Meyer Blumenthal (granddaughter)
Katharine Graham (great-granddaughter)
Florence Meyer Homolka (great-granddaughter)
Lally Weymouth (great great-granddaughter)
Donald E. Graham (great great-grandson)


Early lifeEdit

Joseph Newmark was born in 1799 in Neumark, West Prussia.[1] He received a classical Jewish education, including rabbinical training and certification as a schochet, a ritual slaughterer. He married for the first time at age 19, and had two children with his first wife. After his wife died at a young age, he and his two children emigrated to the United States in 1820.[2][3]


He first settled in New York City in 1823.[1] Two years later, in 1825, he was a co-founder of B'nai Jeshurun, a synagogue on the island of Manhattan.[1]

He moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1840, where he served as the president of a synagogue until 1845.[1][3]

He moved to California in 1852 and settled in Los Angeles in 1853.[3] He established Congregation B'nai B'rith, the oldest synagogue in Los Angeles now known as the Wilshire Boulevard Temple,[1] which began as an Orthodox synagogue.[4] He is credited with having performed the first Jewish wedding in California, and officiated as rabbi for his daughters' weddings.[2] In 1862, he persuaded rabbi Abram Wolf Edelman to move to Los Angeles and become its first rabbi.[5] After Newmark's death, the synagogue would become Reform, leading to Edelman's retirement.[1]

Later in life, Newmark became an ordained rabbi in his own right.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to Rosa Levy Newmark in 1835.[1] They had six children together: Matilda Newmark Kremer (married to Maurice Kremer), Myer J. Newmark, Sarah Newmark, Caroline Newmark Lazard (married to Solomon Lazard), Edward Newmark, and Harriet Newmark Meyer (married to Marc Eugene Meyer).[1][2]


He died in 1881 in Los Angeles, California.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Newmark, Jewish Virtual Library
  2. ^ a b c "Joseph Newmark: Early Los Angeles Pioneer, Uncle of Harris Newmark, Unofficial Rabbi of Early Los Angeles". Jewish Museum of the American West. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e The Death of Rabbi Newmark., The Los Angeles Herald-Express, Volume 16, Number 53, 20 October 1881
  4. ^ Kerry M. Olitzky, The American Synagogue: A Historical Dictionary and Sourcebook, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996, p. 50 [1]
  5. ^ Rabbi Abraham Wolf Edelman, The First Rabbi of Los Angeles, Jewish Museum of the American West