Joseph Jonas

Joseph Jonas. <br><br>Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The achievements of Joseph Jonas, during his more than fifty years in Cincinnati, were prolific by anyone’s standards.

In addition to being one of the earliest Jewish settlers to the region and a master tailor, Joseph Jonas was one of two individuals involved with the foundation of the Chestnut Street Cemetery, later known as the Old Jewish Cemetery.

A man of many talents, Jonas would cement his title as a founding father of the Jewish community and civic leader via his involvement in the founding of K.K. Bene Israel, the first formal congregation west of the Alleghenies, and as a state legislator within the Ohio House of Representatives.

Tall clock built by Joseph Jonas
Joseph Jonas, a watch and clockmaker, was Cincinnati’s first permanent settler. He arrived in the Queen City in 1817. A German Jew by birth, he lived most of his early life in England before immigrating to America. He helped acquire land for the Chestnut Street Cemetery, which marked the founding of Cincinnati’s Jewish community. He later helped found the first Jewish congregation west of the Alleghenies, Kehal Kodesh Bene Israel – now Rockdale Temple. Jonas also served the Ohio State legislature from 1860-1861.