Small Jewish communities arose at the turn of the twentieth century in several southern Minnesota market towns. In each, Jews gathered for religious purposes. But it was only in Rochester that a formal synagogue, B’nai Israel, was established. The founding of Mayo Clinic in 1905 created a need for a local congregation that could serve Jewish patients. After almost a century of holding worship services in former residences, B’nai Israel built its first synagogue building in 2008.
Jane Williamson’s tombstone in the cemetery on the former Yankton Reservation in Greenwood, South Dakota bears a Daughters of the American Revolution marker identifying her as a descendant of a Revolutionary War veteran. Photograph by Lois Glewwe.