Jewish Community Center of St. Paul

In 1930, the Jewish Community Center of St. Paul (JCC)—originally called the Jewish Education Center (JEC)—began the work it continues in the twenty-first century: providing for the educational, social, cultural, and recreational lives of local Jewish youth and their families.

Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas

A marked rise in public anti-Semitism in the 1930s spurred a group of Jewish leaders in the Twin Cities and Duluth to form the Anti-Defamation Council of Minnesota in 1938. In the 1950s the focus of the council shifted from defensive actions to teaching campaigns. These efforts aimed to fight ignorance and improve social relations. The renamed Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas continues this mission in the twenty-first century.

Jewish Immigrants in Brook Park

The village of Brook Park supported a small but vital Jewish community for a brief period in the mid-1890s. That community dispersed after the Great Hinckley Fire destroyed the village on September 1, 1894, just months after many of the immigrants had arrived.

Jewish Religious Life on the Iron Range

In the late nineteenth century, some of the Jewish immigrants who had originally settled in the Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior saw economic opportunity in the nearby Iron Range of northern Minnesota. From the 1890s through the 1920s they founded retail and service businesses in the region's booming mining towns. Though small in numbers and relatively isolated, Iron Range Jews supported a vibrant communal life through the 1980s, when hard times on the Range led to a general depopulation.

Jewish Roots of Neighborhood House, St. Paul

Women members of Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul founded Neighborhood House in 1897 to assist poor Russian Jewish immigrants. For its first sixty-five years, the settlement house operated in the West Side “Flats”—the neighborhood near the Mississippi River across from downtown where the immigrants first settled.

Jewish Sheltering Home for Children, Minneapolis

Orthodox Jews concerned about Jewish children who were cared for in non-Jewish foster homes founded the Jewish Sheltering Home for Children in North Minneapolis in 1918. The founders felt that such children would become estranged from their religion and culture. The home they organized functioned as a Jewish institution through the early 1960s.

Jewish Social Welfare Groups, 1871–2012

Nineteenth-century Jewish immigrants brought to Minnesota long-standing religious traditions of aiding the poor and needy. Beginning in the 1870s, German-Jewish immigrants, followed by Jews from Eastern Europe, founded an array of charitable and philanthropic groups. Women were the prime movers, though men held directors’ roles.

Jewish Youth Camping in Minnesota

Organized youth camping became popular in the late nineteenth century against the backdrop of the Progressive Era. In Minnesota and across the U.S., reformers believed that offering fresh-air vacations to poor children living in crowded cities would contribute to public health. Another motive was Americanizing the children of immigrants. The earliest Jewish camps pursued the same goals, with one addition: teaching the Jewish faith.

Keenan, Agnes (1910–1979)

Agnes Keenan’s name is among the most prominent in the history of St. Catherine’s College—the school that became St. Catherine University. Although she was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, in 1910, Keenan spent most of her life in St. Paul working as a teacher and community leader.

Kenesseth Israel Congregation, St. Louis Park

Kenesseth Israel (Assembly of Israel) is the oldest Orthodox Jewish congregation in Minnesota. Founded in 1891, it was the first congregation on Minneapolis' North Side.

Labor Lyceum and Workmen’s Circle

A small, committed group of Jewish immigrants raised the funds needed to build the Labor Lyceum at 1426 Sixth Avenue North in Minneapolis in 1915. The two-story brick and stucco building was a hub for radical Jewish cultural, political, and social activities for the next thirty-five years.

Lumberjack Sky Pilots

Working as a lumberjack in northern Minnesota was a difficult job with poor living conditions. Many loggers blew off steam by drinking, gambling, or visiting brothels. "Sky pilots," or visiting ministers, tried to save the men's souls and put them on the road to holiness rather than vice.

Mayim Rabim Congregation, Minneapolis

Mayim Rabim, the only Reconstructionist synagogue in the Twin Cities, was founded in 1992. Its founders were former members of Adath Jeshurun in South Minneapolis. In 2014, the small congregation continues to worship at its original home, the Minneapolis Friends Meetinghouse.

Mennonite Migration to Cottonwood County

Believing that war and violence are inconsistent with Jesus’s teachings to love one’s enemies, a group of people from Molotschna Colony, Russia—Mennonites of Dutch descent—searched for a permanent home in the early 1870s. They found such a place, where they could follow their faith without persecution, in Minnesota’s Cottonwood County.

Mennonites of Mountain Lake

Mennonites arrived at Mountain Lake in 1873. Mennonites are a Protestant Christian group with sixteenth century European origins. Their name refers to Menno Simons, who was a Dutch religious reformer. Simons preached a fundamentalist, more literal interpretation of the Bible. He also emphasized the importance of adult baptism. Along with these beliefs, Simons promoted a simple way of life similar to Jesus Christ and the apostles. As part of his creed, he stressed the importance of Christian brotherhood, pacifism, and the primacy of family in Christian life. The tenet of pacifism played a significant role throughout Mennonite history.

Mikro Kodesh Synagogue, Minneapolis

The Moorish/Byzantine-style building at 1004 Oliver Avenue North in Minneapolis was home to the congregation Mikro Kodesh (Holy Assembly) from the 1920s through the 1960s. It is one of the few physical remnants of the now-dispersed North Side Jewish community.

Missionaries of Red Wing, 1837–1852

During a fifteen-year span beginning in 1837, a series of Christian missionaries moved into the Mdewakanton Dakota village of Red Wing. Their goals, in the language of the day, were the "education and civilization" of the Indians. Welcomed by some of their hosts and tolerated by others, these Euro-Americans attempted to convince the Mdewakanton to adopt the ways of the whites.

Mount Sinai Hospital and Foundation, Minneapolis

Mount Sinai Hospital in Minneapolis was among the first private hospitals in the Twin Cities to admit minority doctors on its medical staff. The Jewish community opened it in 1951; by the time it closed in 1991, local hospitals were open to doctors of all races and religions.

Mount Zion Temple, St. Paul

In 1856, eight German-Jewish families in St. Paul founded the first Jewish congregation in Minnesota. It was called Mount Zion Hebrew Association. In 2012, Mount Zion Temple had 1,000 members. The synagogue building on Summit Avenue in St. Paul was designed by internationally recognized architect Erich Mendelsohn.

Muus v. Muus

Divorce in Minnesota's nineteenth century Norwegian-Lutheran community was a rarity. Legal separation between a leading pastor and his wife was unheard of. But an 1879 court case in Holden Township led to both those outcomes, and triggered a public debate about married women's legal rights.

Norelius, Eric (1833–1916)

Eric Norelius traveled to the Minnesota territorial town of Red Wing in 1855. He planned to meet with groups of immigrant Swedes looking for a Lutheran minister to lead them. The twenty-one year-old churchman thus began a six-decade ministry that served the state's Swedish Lutheran population.

Old Westbrook Lutheran Church

The history of Old Westbrook Lutheran Church is the history of Cottonwood County since its organization in 1870. The earliest settler-colonists in the county were the same people who later organized the first Lutheran parish west of New Ulm.

Pipestone Quarry, Pipestone

From ancient times to the present, a pipestone quarry in southwestern Minnesota has been a sacred gathering place for Indian nations from all over North America. Modern highways following traditional migration routes used by indigenous people intersect at this venerated place, designated a national monument in 1937.

Riepp, Mother Benedicta (Sybilla) (1825–1862)

Mother Benedicta (Sybilla) Riepp was the founder of the Roman Catholic Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict in North America. During her time as Superior of the first foundation in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, she sent a group of Sisters to St. Cloud, Minnesota, where they began a new convent. This group moved to St. Joseph in 1863. By 1946, Saint Benedict’s Monastery was the largest community of Benedictine Sisters in the world.

Riggs, Stephen Return (1812–1883)

Stephen Return Riggs was a Christian missionary and linguist who spent forty years in the Minnesota River Valley, Nebraska, and Dakota Territory. In both these roles, he aimed to “Christianize and civilize” the Dakota people he believed were caught in the “bonds of heathenism.” To further his project, he compiled the first printed dictionary of the Dakota language. Riggs’s work as a government translator and interpreter helped the United States remove the Dakota from their Minnesota homeland during the 1850s and 1860s.

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