Lone Stars of David

Lone Stars of David: The Jews of Texas

An essay collection of lively written, lavishly illustrated, and well-documented narratives on the history and culture of Texas Jews.

Winner of the Texas Historical Foundation’s Doelece Parmelee Award for historical research and writing.

“You can have a good time just leafing through these pages, but sooner or later you’ll want to read every word, because this is a book with a serious pedigree.”—Texas Jewish Post

Cover and Photo Design: Ellen Appel

Jewish life in the United States is too often told from an East Coast perspective. Lone Stars of David presents a different panorama, with narratives of Jews who ventured to Texas before the battle of the Alamo, who fought for the Confederacy, who herded cattle up the Chisholm Trail, who drilled for oil, and who forged Jewish communities far from New York’s Lower East Side. These essays also describe how Texas Jews faced the Ku Klux Klan and how they respond today to Christian fundamentalism.

This anthology examines the famous, with a close-up look at Neiman-Marcus, the chain synonymous with remarkable luxuries. It profiles Zale jewelers, founded by a young immigrant who grew into an international business icon. Another essay opens a window to the Dell Computer Corporation, with the story of Michael Dell, the college dropout whose philanthropy changed the course of the Austin Jewish community.

Written by historians, journalists, and rabbis who have experienced Texas firsthand, these essays challenge stereotypes. One chapter discounts the impact of crypto-Jews who fled the Spanish Inquisition for the New World. Another defies conventional wisdom about southern views toward Zionism. El Paso emerges as the unlikely home of a Holocaust museum. The book’s essay on Jews in Texas politics analyzes the import of populist candidate Kinky Friedman and introduces Marjorie Arsht, a grassroots organizer whose living room was the setting for Republican George H. W. Bush’s first foray into politics.

The Jewish population of Texas totals 131,000, a mere 0.6 percent of the state’s residents, yet its impact has been widespread. This anthology explores the resiliency, diversity, and adaptability of Jews in the Lone Star State, a place with its own powerful sense of identity.


  • Foreword – Ambassador Robert S. Strauss
  • On the Frontier: Jews without Judaism – Bryan Edward Stone
  • Confederate Stories: The Sanger Brothers – Gary P. Whitfield
  • Home on the Range: Mayer Halff’s Cattle Empire – Patrick Dearen
  • “These One-Sex Organizations”: Clubwomen – Hollace Weiner
  • “The Man Who Stayed in Texas”: Galveston’s Rabbi Henry Cohen – Henry Cohen II
  • Deep in the Heart of Palestine: Zionism in Early Texas – Stuart Rockoff
  • West Texas Wildcatters: From Immigrant to Patron Saint Rita – Barry Shlachter
  • East Texas Oil Boom: From New Jersey Farm Boy to Scrap Metal King – Jan Statman
  • On the Border: A Deck of Cards Led to Del Rio – Doug Braudaway
  • The Zale Story: Diamonds for the Rough – Lauraine Miller
  • Neiman-Marcus: Al Neiman, a Princely Pauper – Hollace Weiner
  • West of Neiman’s: Best Little Department Store in Sweetwater – Jane Bock Guzman
  • Little Synagogues across Texas – Hollace Weiner and Lauraine Miller
  • Six-Tenths of a Percent of Texas – Kenneth D. Roseman
  • Most Politics is Local – Steve Gutow and Laurie Barker James
  • Minority Report: Dr. Ray K. Daily Battles the Houston School Board – Lynwood Abram
  • Opening Legal Doors for Women: Hermine Tobolowsky – Gladys R. Leff
  • El Paso: The Wild West Welcomes Holocaust Survivors – Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Sylvia Deener Cohen
  • Forty Acres and a Shul: “It’s Easy as Dell” – Cathy Schechter
  • Comfort and Discomfort: Being Jewish in Fort Worth – Ralph D. Mecklenburger