Chief commercial city of the state of Minnesota. In 1900 it had in a total population of 202,718 a Jewish community of about 6,000 souls. The first Jewish settlers were Germans, Bohemians, and Russians, who went there between the years 1865-70, there being among them one Ralph Rees, still living, who came in 1866, and who was for many years the most active member of the community. In 1876 about a dozen families rented a hall for worship and engaged the Rev. Mr. Schreiber as minister. In 1878 the congregation was permanently organized and incorporated, and shortly after a frame structure was erected as a synagogue on leased ground now situated in the very center of the business district. Such was the beginning of the present Jewish Reform Congregation Shaarei Tov. About five years later the synagogue was enlarged and moved to its present site, Fifth avenue and Tenth street south. Henry Iliowizi then became the rabbi of the congregation and remained here eight years. His successors have been: Rabbi S. Marks, two years; A. Friedman, seven years; and S. N. Deinard, the present (1904) incumbent, who was elected in 1901. The congregation dedicated a new synagogue in 1903.
The great bulk of Russian and Rumanian Jews, who are now the predominating element of the community, have come since 1882. The first congregations organized by them were the Adath Yeshurun, which existed for about seven years, and the Rumanian Hebrew Congregation Sons of Abraham, both in 1888. In 1890 the Congregation Beth Midrash Haggadol was started, but two years later was dissolved and succeeded by the Congregation Keneseth Israel, which built its present synagogue in 1894. This congregation, the leading Orthodox one, maintains a Hebrew Free School (daily) with about 70 pupils, and a Sunday-school attended mostly by girls. With the congregation are connected a Ḥebra Tillim, a Ḥebra Mishnah, and a Ḥebra Gemarah. Other Orthodox congregations are: Mikra Kodesh Nusaḥ Sfard; Congregation Anshe Tavrig; Adath Yeshurun (reorganized in 1903); and South Side Hebrew Congregation Agudath Ahim. They all own their houses of worship. The spiritual head of the Orthodox portion of the community was, until 1901, Rabbi I. Yaffey, who has been succeeded by Rabbi M. S. Silber.Charitable Organizations.
The following organizations attend to communal charity: the Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Society, composed of members of the Jewish Reform congregation; Sisters of Peace; Russian Hebrews Charity Association; Biḳḳur Ḥolim of the North Side; Biḳḳur Ḥolim of the South Side; and Haknasat Orḥim (free temporary shelter for strangers)—the last five conducted and maintained by the Orthodox Jews.
Before there was any established congregation in Minneapolis, the first few Jewish settlers bought a small tract of land about four miles from the center of the city, and organized themselves into what is now known as the Montefiore Burial Association. It is not connected with any congregation, although its membership is composed of those who affiliate with the Reform congregation. In addition there are now the Adath Yeshurun Cemetery Association; the Minneapolis City Lodge O. B. A. Cemetery Association; and the Hennepin County Lodge O. B. A. Cemetery Association.
Jewish secret fraternal organizations are particularly numerous in Minneapolis: one lodge of the I. O. B. B. with about 70 members; five lodges of the O. B. A. with a total membership of 1,250; two lodges of the Sons of Benjamin; one of the Free Sons of Israel; Mendelsohn Camp, M. W. A.; Baron Hirsch Camp, W. W.; and one Jewish lodge of each of the following: Modern Samaritans, Bankers' Union, Knights and Ladies of Security, Loyal Mystic Legion of America, Supreme Court of Honor, and Modern Brotherhood of America.
Zionism is represented by the Ohave Zion Kadimah and the American Daughters of Zion. There are several literary and social organizations.
The professions are represented by nine lawyers (one of whom, Simon Meyers, was in the state legislature from 1897 to 1899) and six physicians; three Jewish names are on the faculty list of the University of Minnesota: Robert Kolliner, professor at the University Law School; S. N. Deinard, of the chair of Semitics; and Lilian Cohen, instructor of chemistry. Dr. George J. Gordon is on the faculty of the Hamline Medical College.