Story of ''The First Jew of Texas'' Told in New Book

Posted on May 29, 2012 by Bobby Bernshausen | 0 Comments

Jim Novy may not be a familiar name to many, but his story is truly one that surpasses that of most who arrived in the United States during the peak of the Eastern European Jewish immigration wave. The remarkable tale of this formerly unsung figure in Texas history is laid out in great detail in a new book from Publishing entitled “The First Jew of Texas: The Life of Jim Novy,” edited by David Chapin. Narrowly escaping his small Polish village to land in Galveston, Texas with his brothers in 1913, Jim Novy's first few years in America involved numerous attempts to make a start in the business industry. As a teenage immigrant in a strange new world, one can assume he had no idea as to the outstanding and prosperous future that awaited him on this nation's shores. Ultimately becoming the owner of an Austin-based scrap metal business, which would grow exponentially as the economy called for a higher demand of his product, Novy achieved a wealth greater than he could have imagined upon leaving Europe. Although not literally the first Jew to arrive in the State of Texas, he received the title "First Jew of the State of Texas" from the editors of the Texas Jewish Press in 1942 after they released a series of articles telling his life's story. From here, his success would grow even further, extending to links within the White House and a personal friendship with President Lyndon B. Johnson. David Chapin compiled parts of this work from the archives of Elaine Shapiro, but the text also includes information culled through a wide variety of sources, from the LBJ presidential library to interviews with the Novy family to the oral and written history of the Congregation Agudas Achim (the synagogue to which Jim Novy belonged during his lifetime). These accounts of Novy's life and endeavors come together to form a compelling success story that will leave readers with a desire to strive for excellence in their own lives.

"The First Jew of Texas: The Life of Jim Novy" is available in softcover (ISBN 978-1-60264-991-0), hardcover (ISBN 978-1-60264-992-7), and ebook (ISBN 978-1-60264-993-4) from,, and This book can also be ordered from most bookstores around the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. More information can be found at .

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