WILMINGTON, the largest city in Delaware, midway between New York and Washington, some 27 miles south of Philadelphia and 70 miles north of Baltimore. In 1995, 7,600 Jews, 56% of Delaware's Jews, lived in Wilmington and its suburbs. Since 1879, when Delaware's first Jewish organization, the Moses Montefiore Society, was formed, Wilmington has been the center of Jewish life in the state. Central European and native-born Jews who came to Wilmington from neighboring American cities established the Moses Montefiore Society. Within a few years, eastern European Jews arrived in large numbers. In addition to working as tailors, shoemakers, milliners, and shopkeepers, many of them worked in Wilmington's expanding shipbuilding, railroad car and morocco plants as carpenters or unskilled laborers. The eastern Europeans quickly outnumbered the founders, but the groups worked together to build Wilmington's synagogues and agencies. (See Delaware.\>\> ) Given Wilmington's prosperity, the Jewish population grew quickly from 94 people in 1879 to nearly 4,000 by 1920. Wilmington's moment of glory was the 1918 War Relief Campaign sponsored by the American Jewish Relief Committee. Recognizing the full extent of the suffering in Europe, the AJRC set a national goal of 30 million dollars, an unattainable goal for Jews alone. The agency chose Wilmington, which was known to have very good relations between the Jewish and general community, for an experimental appeal to non-Jews and assigned it a goal of $75,000. With the generosity of Wilmington's established leaders, Pierre duPont and members of the duPont family, Senator Willard J. Saulsbury, then president pro tem of the U.S. Senate, and Wilmington's industrial leaders, the campaign surpassed its goal and raised $125,000. Wilmington became known nationally as the model city of charity and good will, the place where the campaign became "not only a Jewish movement but a human movement." During the World War I era, the most affluent members of the Jewish community moved north across the Brandywine River, but most Jews continued to live and work in the downtown area. They ran many of Wilmington's leading stores like J.M. Lazarus' Wilmington Dry Goods, Snellenburg's, Keil's, and Braunstein's. By the 1960s, 35% of Wilmington's Jews had moved to the suburbs; only 53% still lived in the city. To meet the new reality, community leaders closed the old Jewish Community Center and built a new one in northern New Castle County on Garden of Eden Road in 1969. Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth (Orthodox) and Temple Beth Emeth (Reform) also moved out of the downtown area in mid century. Beth Shalom (Conservative) was always north of the Brandywine River. As Wilmington developed into a corporate capital and then a financial/banking center, many Jews found jobs in those fields as well as in other professions. In 1995, 55% of Wilmington's Jews had a four-year college degree or a graduate degree. The vast majority of Wilmington's Jews lived in the suburbs; few lived in the city. The total population of the city and suburbs had not increased much, from an estimated 7,200 Jews in 1962 to an estimated 7,600 in 1995. A multi-year expansion and renovation of the Garden of Eden Campus began in 2003 following a community wide campaign that raised more than 21 million dollars. During the World War II era, Jewish education became a community priority. The Jewish Federation of Delaware, which was formed in 1935, led a community effort to establish a United Hebrew School. Although the school closed after about 13 years, the focus on education continued. Wilmington Gratz Hebrew High School, a branch of the successful Philadelphia school, opened in 1965. Albert Einstein Academy, the state's only Jewish day school, began in 1970. The Florence Melton Mini School brought its adult education program to Wilmington in 2001. At the end of the 20th century, 33.3% of Wilmington's Jews defined themselves as Conservative, 30% as Reform, 7.3% as Orthodox, 0.8% as Reconstructionist and 27.7% as Just Jewish. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ukeles Associates, Inc., 1995 Jewish Population Study of Delaware, Summary Report; H. Bluestone, The Jewish Population of Northern Delaware1962A Demographic Study; H. Bluestone, A Historical Review of a Century of Jewish Education in Delaware, 18761976; Toni Young, Becoming American, Remaining Jewish: The Story of Wilmington, Delaware's First Jewish Community, 18791924 (1999); Toni Young (ed.), Delaware and the Jews (1979). (Toni Young (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Wilmington — may refer to:People* Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington, British Prime Minister, 1742 1743, who gave his name to many of the places called Wilmington.Places In the United States of America;Cities *Wilmington, Delaware *Wilmington, Will… …   Wikipedia

  • Wilmington — ist der Name von: Personen: Spencer Compton, 1. Earl of Wilmington, Britischer Premierminister (1742 1743) Orte in den Vereinigten Staaten: Wilmington (Delaware) Wilmington (North Carolina) Wilmington (Ohio) Wilmington (Kalifornien) Wilmington… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wilmington — Wilmington, DE U.S. city in Delaware Population (2000): 72664 Housing Units (2000): 32138 Land area (2000): 10.848520 sq. miles (28.097537 sq. km) Water area (2000): 6.169561 sq. miles (15.979088 sq. km) Total area (2000): 17.018081 sq. miles (44 …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Wilmington — puede hacer referencia a: Personas Spencer Compton, conde de Wilmington, Primer Ministro Británico entre 1742 y 1743. Lugares Wilmington, la mayor ciudad del estado de Delaware, en los Estados Unidos. Wilmington, ciudad del estado de Carolina del …   Wikipedia Español

  • Wilmington, IL — U.S. village in Illinois Population (2000): 120 Housing Units (2000): 48 Land area (2000): 0.791941 sq. miles (2.051117 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.791941 sq. miles (2.051117 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Wilmington — (spr. Uilmingt n), 1) Stadt u. Einfuhrhafen der Grafschaft New Castle des Staates Delaware (Nordamerika), am Christiana Creek u. der Philadelphia Wilmington Baltimore Eisenbahn; Cityhalle, 2 Markthallen, Armenhaus, Arsenal, 16 Kirchen, 4 Banken,… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Wilmington, DE — U.S. city in Delaware Population (2000): 72664 Housing Units (2000): 32138 Land area (2000): 10.848520 sq. miles (28.097537 sq. km) Water area (2000): 6.169561 sq. miles (15.979088 sq. km) Total area (2000): 17.018081 sq. miles (44.076625 sq. km) …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Wilmington, MA — U.S. Census Designated Place in Massachusetts Population (2000): 21363 Housing Units (2000): 7158 Land area (2000): 17.131826 sq. miles (44.371223 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.079893 sq. miles (0.206922 sq. km) Total area (2000): 17.211719 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Wilmington, NC — U.S. city in North Carolina Population (2000): 75838 Housing Units (2000): 38678 Land area (2000): 40.997391 sq. miles (106.182752 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.481986 sq. miles (1.248339 sq. km) Total area (2000): 41.479377 sq. miles (107.431091… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Wilmington, OH — U.S. city in Ohio Population (2000): 11921 Housing Units (2000): 5284 Land area (2000): 7.450955 sq. miles (19.297885 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 7.450955 sq. miles (19.297885 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

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