Jewish immigrants were
part of a great migration from Europe to the United States in the 19th
century. Like other ethnic and racial groups, they were seeking freedom
from political and religious persecution as well as economic opportunity.
Jews were not a large portion of Nevada's population. The 1880 census
documented 90 Jews living in Carson City, among a total population in the
city of 4,229. Many of those Jews lived in the oldest ethnic neighborhood
in Nevada. Some of those buildings from the 19th century survive,
a physical reminder of an important part of Nevada's history. The
brothers were early Jewish settlers, and successful businessmen in
Nevada. The house of Hymen Olcovich was in the center of the Jewish
neighborhood in Carson City.
Rabbi Jacob Sheyer, who was
also a dry goods merchant, provided for many of the religious needs of
Jews in Carson City for about 10 years. There was no synagogue in
Carson City so High Holy Day services were held in the Masonic Hall.
Marriages and other religious ceremonies were performed in people's homes.
The rabbi traveled all over western Nevada and into California serving
his Jewish congregation.
Reader: Ethel Jaffe
Nevada State Museum