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.

Black and white photograph of the Chapel of St. Paul, c.1855.

Chapel of St. Paul

The first Chapel of St. Paul, c.1855.

Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Paul Province: Origins and Foundations

In 1851 Bishop Joseph Cretin needed help to preach the Catholic faith to the growing St. Paul community. In July of that year he asked the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Missouri to assist him. Mother St. John Fournier and three Catholic sisters traveled to the city in the fall and quickly influenced the health and welfare of the region.

Black and white photograph of the exterior of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Duluth. Tifereth Israel merged with Temple Emanuel in 1969 to form Temple Israel.

Tifereth Israel, Duluth

Photograph of the exterior of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Duluth. Tifereth Israel merged with Temple Emanuel in 1969 to form Temple Israel.

Color photograph of the exterior of Temple Israel in Duluth. Photographed by Phillip Prowse c.2010.

Temple Israel, Duluth

Photograph of the exterior of Temple Israel in Duluth. Photographed by Phillip Prowse c.2010.

Temple Israel, Duluth

Two of Duluth's oldest Jewish congregations—Temple Emanuel and Tifereth Israel—had little in common after they were founded in the 1890s. While Temple Emanuel was affiliated with Reform Judaism, Tifereth Israel conducted worship services in the Orthodox tradition. Tifereth Israel's 1945 shift to Conservative Judaism, however, coupled with the decline of Duluth's Jewish population, led the two congregations to unite in 1969 as Temple Israel.

Color photograph of the interior of Adas Israel Congregation in Duluth. Photograph by Phillip Prowse c.2010.

Interior Adas Israel Congregation, Duluth

Photograph of the interior of Adas Israel Congregation in Duluth. Photograph by Phillip Prowse c.2010.

Color photograph of the exterior of Adas Israel Congregation in Duluth. Photographed by Phillip Prowse c.2010.

Adas Israel Congregation, Duluth

Photograph of the exterior of Adas Israel Congregation in Duluth. Photograph by Phillip Prowse c.2010.

Adas Israel Congregation, Duluth

Adas Israel Congregation was founded in 1885. Members met in a house on St. Croix Avenue in what is now the Canal Park area of Duluth. It incorporated in 1899. The families that formed the congregation were Lithuanian immigrants.

Color photograph of the interior of Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka. Photographed by Phillip Prowse c.2010.

Interior of Bet Shalom Congregation, Minnetonka

Color photograph of the interior of Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka. Photographed by Phillip Prowse c.2010.

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