And in the political realm, a trailblazing Jewess, Freeda Marks, served in 1922 as the minority Republican leader of the Arizona State Legislature and co-founded the Phoenix chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women. In addition to Tucson and Phoenix, the towns of Yuma, Prescott, Bisbee and Tombstone all had Jewish mayors between 18.
Tombstone, a tough silver-mining town notorious for the bloody 1881 shootout at the O. Corral between sheriff Wyatt Earp and the Clanton clan, was home to at least 75 Jewish families during its boom years of 1880 to 1884.
Jews settled in Phoenix a little later than they did in Tucson.
The Jewish barber, Emil Marks, left town, unnerved by the Clantons’ habit of resting their six shooters on their chests while he shaved them.But it wasn’t only cloth and sundries that Jewish men imported to the Arizona Territory.Jewish women were in short supply, and young men traveled to New York, Tennessee or California to find Jewish wives.Both cities are home to active Jewish programming, including annual film festivals, which have reflected the community’s growth.“We started from a little film festival with the screening of three films in November 1996 at Camelview in Scottsdale, and now we host 24 screenings at three different locations,” says Bob Segelbaum, executive director of the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival.