Squirrel Hill has been the “Jewish part of Pittsburgh” for nearly a century. How did that happen?
To find the answer, we’ll follow the trail year by year, looking at the development of subdivisions, the establishment of businesses and the arrival of synagogues, schools and community centers.
We will also consider Squirrel Hill in relationship to the larger Jewish population of Allegheny County, following migrations into the neighborhood as Squirrel Hill gradually consolidated the Jewish population of a broad and disparate region.
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This story was recorded on December 13, 2021.
Eric Lidji is the director of the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center. He is a child of Squirrel Hill and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. He spent 15 years as a journalist before joining the Rauh Jewish Archives–first as a volunteer, then as a researcher and for the past three years as its director. He curates its Jewish history website “the Jewish Encyclopedia of Western Pennsylvania,” oversees its Small Towns Jewish History Project, and hosts its podcast “The Cornerstone.”
He writes and speaks extensively about the Jewish history of Western Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Seventeenth Generation: The Lifework of Rabbi Walter Jacob and a coeditor of the anthologies Her Deeds Sing Her Praises and Bound in the Bond of Life.