The St. Louis Jewish community began in the early 19th century and increased rapidly in the decades surrounding the turn of the century. Jewish immigrants brought skills and determination that helped the community evolve and prosper, but they faced challenges to survive, acculturate, and flourish. Not everyone had easy lives or great wealth, yet most worked to succeed and help others. Jewish endeavors covered all spheres, from small businesses to the Freund Bakery and Stix, Baer and Fuller Department Store to the Lesser-Goldman Cotton Company. Many garment district businesses were owned and run by Jews. Philanthropy and social betterment created the Young Men's Hebrew Association, the Jewish Sanatorium, the Home for Aged & Infirm Israelites, the Jewish Hospital, and many other entities. Members of the Jewish community proudly served in World War I and participated in clubs and organizations, as well as in political, civic, and cultural affairs.