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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
Died1881 (aged 81–82)
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