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In 1868, a family named Sandman became the first Jewish family to settle in Glen Cove. Mr. Sandman, a realtor by profession, was soon followed by Benjamin Cohen and then Barney Friedman, who opened a dry goods store. Isaac Bessel and his wife, Esther, moved to the community in the 1880s. Isaac was the proprietor of a feed and grain store and sold horses. His home often served as a stopping place for Jewish travelers who were unable to reach their own homes in time for the Sabbath. For well over a decade, these were the only Jewish families in Glen Cove.
The Jewish population of the community began to increase in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Young Jews came from Europe to escape persecution. With few trades open to them in Europe, they turned towards retailing and peddling to support their young families.