From the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia


DULUTH, the third largest city in Minnesota.

In 1860 Duluth was still an Indian trading post, a struggling frontier town of four hundred souls, but by 1940 it had grown to a city of 100,328 with a Jewish population of 3,700.

The first Jew to arrive in Duluth was Bernard Silberstein, who came in 1870 from Budapest Hungary. He became a prominent merchant, and was commissioner of public safety and an ardent worker in Jewish causes. Among the other early settlers was I. Freimuth, who came here in the 1880's, owner of the second largest department store; Louis Hammel and his wife Rosa; P. H. Oswald, who ran a cigar store; J. H. Winterfield, a wholesale cigar dealer; Sig Levy; Henry Leopold, a tailor; a Leopold in the furniture business; Phillip Levy who operated a cigar stand in the old St. Louis Hotel, Sam Loeb, Isaac Bondy, Ben Heller and J. D. Moise Polinsky were the first to head this group and were followed in a few years by Yankel Levine, L. Polinsky, Louis Cohen, Shapsie Karon, William Goldstein, Isaac Abrahamson, Max Zalk and Jacob Zien.

The first congregation-Temple Emanuel Congregation-was organized in 1891. A Reform institution from the start, in 1940 it was under the leadership of Rabbi Burton E. Levinson, a graduate of the Hebrew Union College. The temple is located on Fourth Street at Nineteenth Avenue East. In 1893 Tifereth Israel Congregation was formed under the leadership of Yankel Levine and Louis Cohen. A second Orthodox synagogue, Adas Israel, was organized in 1900 with Isaac Cook as its president. The Hebrew Brotherhood Synagogue was founded in 1912. In 1940 the three Orthodox synagogues were let by Rabbi Paul J. Bender. In 1897 the first B'nai B'rith lodge was founded, with Bernard Silberstein as its president. A branch of the National Council of Jewish Women was organized in 1919; a Hadassah chapter was founded in 1926. The first United Jewish Social agencies were set up in 1911; in 1937 the Jewish Welfare Federation was organized to support communal endeavors, including the Bikur Cholim, the Hebrew Institute, the Moa Chitim, the Hachnosas Orchim, and the Sunday School (Temple Emanuel). In 1940 there were in all, more than thirty Jewish organizations in Duluth.

Among those Jews who figured prominently in the Jewish and communal life of Duluth are: E. A. Silberstein, president of Temple Emanuel and founder of community chest; Louis Loeb, bank director and prominent businessman; Moses and Anna Cook, active in social welfare; Ida Cook, benefactress of the Talmud Torah; H. Y. Josephs, prominent businessman and distinguished for his generous gifts; Harry W. David and his wife, Ida, distinguished for their work for Jewish and non-Jewish causes; and E. Gershgol, prominent businessman.

source: The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia By Isaak Lzandman Volume 3, page 609





Further information regarding some of the names mentioned in the article:


Yankel Levine


Decembe 14, 1911

Duluth News-Tribune



  The following death was reported in the office of the health inspector yesterday:


LEVINE-Yankel, 53 years old, a dealer in livestock, died at 821 Fourth avenue east, Dec. 12.






Duluth News-Tribune


  Louis Cohen, aged 62 years, died yesterday at his home, 1115 East Third St., of pleurisy. The deceased was a pioneer of Duluth of 32 years residence. He was a member of the O. b. A. lodge for 22 years.


  He is survivied by his wife and two sons, Maurice and Henry S. both of Duluth, and six daughters, Mrs. Louis Shenowsky, Mrs. M. Steiner, Eva, Mattie, and Viola Cohen, all of Duluth, and Mrs. J. Bernstein of Richmand, Wis.



Louis Cohen, aged 57, died last Friday at his home, 1115 East third stree, of pneumonia. He had resided in Duluth for more than 30 years, and was well known, especially among the Jewish people.


  Mr. Cohen is survived by his widow and two sons, Maurice and Henry S. both of Duluth, and six daughters, Mrs. Louis Shenowsky, Mrs. M. Steiner, Eva, Mattie, and Viola Cohen, all of Duluth, and Mrs. J. Berstein of Richmond, Wis.


  Maurice Cohen is a member of Duluth Typographical union No. 136.


  The funeral was held Sunday, with interment in the Jewish cemetery.


Daughter Eva marries Ben Spier of Dayton, Ohio.6-13-1920