HomeAugust 2023Orange County’s Jewish History

Orange County’s Jewish History

Helena Davis, Lena Danziger, and Hannah Newman, early 1900s (image courtesy of Jim Mendelson)

The Mendelson Siblings

    Seen here are three of the nine Mendelson siblings, all originally from Germany. Together they were an invaluable part of early California, stretching from Baja California all the way up to San Francisco. The four brothers were Morris of Anaheim, who was a tailor and in 1874 conducted the first High Holy Day services in Orange County; Max of San Juan Capistrano, who ran the Mendelson Mission Inn; Mendel, who lived in San Francisco; and Louis, the first Jewish settler in Baja California who later moved to San Diego. The five sisters included Helena, Rachel, Libby, Lena, and Hannah. Helena and Rachel married the Davis brothers; Helena to Gustav and Rachel to Philip. The brothers operated a general store and private bank in Anaheim, and Philip served on the Anaheim city council. Libby wed Samuel Federman, who began his business in Anaheim; the family later moved to Los Angeles, where Samuel helped establish Cedars-Sinai, the first Jewish hospital in Southern California. Lena also lived in LA and was married to Morris Danziger, who operated a ladies tailoring establishment. And last but not least, Hannah married Louis Newman, who ran the Newman & Klein men’s clothing store in LA. The Mendelson siblings’ enterprise, family building and civic and business activities were typical of the pioneer Jews of the West.

DALIA TAFT, archivist of the Orange County Jewish Historical Society, highlights images from the archives every month. For more information, please visit https://www.jccoc.org/pages/oc-jewish-historical-society. You can also contact Dalia at daliat@jccoc.org or at (949) 435-3400, ext. 360. The Orange County Jewish Historical Society is a program of the Merage Jewish Community Center and is funded by the Jewish Community Foundation Orange County.

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