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May 16, 2023

From the small city of Ligonier in northeastern Indiana to major cities including Indianapolis and South Bend, waves of Jewish immigration had, in a range of ways, an impact between 1840 and the 1920s on their communities. Immigrants came to the Hoosier state from various homelands, with a Jewish teenager who fled the Austro-Hungarian empire eventually becoming one of the founders of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation and a brigadier general for the Union Army during the Civil War.

Our guide for a statewide exploration of Jewish immigration in this encore of a show originally broadcast in 2022  will be Michael J. Brown, executive director of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society. Michael is the host of IN-Jewish History Podcast, a series that delves into the Hoosier state’s Jewish heritage. He has worked for Israeli start-ups and is a board member of Sinai Synagogue in South Bend.

The differences in Jewish immigration patterns between South Bend and Indianapolis are among the topics Michael discusses when he is Nelson's guest for a show focusing on the 1840 to the 1920s. In Ligonier for much of that era, a multi-generational, German-speaking Jewish community flourished; a similar scenario unfolded in LaPorte and other, smaller Indiana cities.