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 Jewish youth and St. Paul families.

Oil on canvas color painting of Rev. Alfred Brunson c.1830.

Rev. Alfred Brunson

Oil on canvas color painting of Rev. Alfred Brunson c.1830.

Soviet Jewry rally sign

Photograph of a sign used at a rally held in support of Soviet Jews in Minneapolis in March of 1987. The rally's attendees included members of the Minnesota-Dakota Action Committee (organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council). Used with the permission of the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Black and white photograph of JCRC/ADL display at the Minnesota State Fair, c.1986.

JCRC/ADL display at the State Fair

Photograph of visitors at a display designed by members of the JCRC/ADL (Jewish Community Relations Council/Anti-Defamation League) at the Minnesota State Fair c.1986. Used with the permission of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest and obtained from the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Black and white photograph of booth staffed by members of the JCRC/ADL at the Minnesota State Fair, c.1986.

JCRC/ADL booth at the State Fair

Photograph of a booth staffed by members of the JCRC/ADL (Jewish Community Relations Council/Anti-Defamation League) at the Minnesota State Fair c.1986. Used with the permission of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest and obtained from the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Black and white photograph of JCRC booth at the Minnesota State Fair, c.1980.

JCRC booth at the State Fair

Photograph of a booth staffed by members of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) at the Minnesota State Fair c.1980. Used with the permission of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest and obtained from the Nathan and Theresa Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

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.

Black and white photograph of children attending a child's birthday party c.1912.

Child's birthday party in Virginia

Portrait photograph of children attending a child's birthday party in Virginia, c.1912. The parents of the boys and girls in this photo were children of the first generation of Jewish settlers that had arrived in Minnesota's Iron Range at the turn of the twentieth century, mainly from Lithuania by way of Superior, Wisconsin. The Jewish community in Range towns was relatively tight-knit. Each of the larger towns, including Virginia, Hibbing, Chisholm and Eveleth had a synagogue at one time or another, and much of the community life revolved around activities related to them.

Black and white photograph of Hibbing's Agudath Achim Synagogue taken in August of 1972.

Agudas Achim Synagogue, Hibbing

Hibbing's Agudath Achim Synagogue, August of 1972.

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.

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