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According to available evidence, the first Jewish pioneers arrived in Chicago in 1841. And only five years later, Chicago s first synagogue was established. Walter Roth, the pre-eminent historian of Jewish Chicago, paints a vivid tapestry of well-known and little-known Jews from all walks of life.
Roth writes about some of the city s more violent history and how Jews were involved: the Iroquois Theatre Fire of 1903; the Haymarket bombing; the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937; the Peoria Street Riots of 1949; and the murder of Jake Lingle. In a section called Business in the City, Roth discusses Albert Lasker, the father of modern advertising; Ernest Ernie Byfield, who founded the Pump Room, an internationally known restaurant and celebrity haunt in the Ambassador East Hotel. William Paley, the CBS maven, is also profiled as well as Benjamin Rosenthal and the Chicago Mail Order Company.
There are also sections on culture which deal with authors Meyer Levin and Isaac Rosenfeld, Humboldt Park s so-called Troubled Literary Golden Boy; and Leo Strauss, the influential political philosopher at the University of Chicago, who is known as the father of neo-conservatism. Scientists Martin D. Kamen, the co-discoverer of radioactive carbon 14 and Gunther S. Stent, the neurobiolgist, are also featured.
These are only a few of the influential people and events- who either lived in, visited or had some effect on Chicago over the last century. One of the more colorful of these was Vladimir Ze ev Jabotinsky, the ideological forbear of Israel s Likud Party who made two visits to Chicago.