Bacharach, Isaac

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BACHARACH, ISAAC (1870–1956), U.S. congressman, philanthropist, and civic leader. Born in Philadelphia, Bacharach and his two brothers were brought to Atlantic City by their parents in 1881, thereby being among the very first Jews to live in that seaside resort community. Their father helped found Atlantic City's first synagogue, the Reform Beth Israel. Isaac's brother benjamin (1865–1936) would serve as the synagogue's president for more than 20 years.

Starting with a single clothing store, Isaac Bacharach and his brothers expanded their interests into banking, real estate, and lumber. The brothers put together a syndicate that developed Brigantine, a resort community on nearby Absecon Island, and built the seaside resort's first hotel. Brother harry (1873–1947) was the first to enter politics, winning a seat on the Atlantic City City Council in 1900. In 1911, he was elected mayor, an office he would hold on-and-off until the mid-1930s. Together, the three brothers founded and helped underwrite the Jewish Community Center of Atlantic City.

Although limited to a high school education, Isaac excelled in business. Before he turned 30, he had become president of the Second National Bank of Atlantic City and a director of the city's Safe Deposit Company. Isaac joined brother Harry on the Atlantic City City Council in 1907. In 1912, he was elected as a conservative Republican to the New Jersey State Assembly. In November 1914, he was elected to the first of 11 terms in the U.S. Congress. Following the overwhelming victory of the national Republican Party in 1920, Bacharach, now a member of the majority, was appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. During his tenure in Congress, Bacharach was appointed, along with former House Speaker Nicholas Longworth of Ohio and future speaker (and vice president) John Nance Garner of Texas, to oversee the construction of a new House office building. Today the building is known as the "Longworth Building." In 1924, the three brothers, along with their two sisters, built and dedicated a Home for Afflicted Children in Longport, New Jersey. More than 80 years later, there is still a Betty Bacharach Rehabilitation Center in Pomona, New Jersey, and a Betty Bacharach Hospital in Longport, New Jersey.

Following his defeat in the 1936 elections, Bacharach returned to Atlantic City to oversee his many business interests.


K.F. Stone, The Congressional Minyan: The Jews of Capitol Hill (2000), 10–11.

[Kurt Stone (2nd ed.)]