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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Historic Preservation & Archaeology > Learn About Topics > Cultures > Jewish Heritage Initiative > Monroe DHPA Jewish Historical Resources

Monroe County MapMonroe County

Bloomington is the county seat of Monroe County it was settled in 1815. Home to Indiana University, founded in 1820, it is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning west of the Alleghenies.

The first Jewish family to arrive in Bloomington was the brothers Isaac, Samuel and Levi Kahn, from France around 1855. Soon after their arrival, they opened their clothing business. In 1860 their nephew Moses joined the business. After serving as intern in the business with his uncles for several years, Moses joined Solomon Tannenbaum in business. In 1883 after a disastrous fire, Solomon Tannenbaum withdrew from the partnership. Moses paid back all creditors, reopened the business, and was one of the founding members of the Bloomington fire department. Moses died in 1920.

The Becovitz family came to Bloomington in 1893 from Poland. Abe opened a fruit store; Abe had moved by 1900. Two of his sons moved to Bedford, Indiana, opened a junk business. Later they opened a clothing store called Loubens. After an argument between the brothers, Loubens became Ben’s store, while Louis started the Vogue, an upscale women’s clothing store. Louis also opened an audio store called HiFi Specialists.