Moses Montefiori Synagogue

In 1885 a group of Jews living in the vicinity of St. Croix Avenue organized an Orthodox congregation. They bought a small house on St. Croix and converted it into a synagogue. They held services there for a few years.

The St. Croix Neighborhood was home for many of our early Jewish ancestors around 1900. The neighborhood was located on Park Point north of the Aerial Bridge along what was then St. Croix Avenue. Many of the Jewish residents of the St. Croix neighborhood have been identified from the 1900 Duluth census data. A listing, compiled by Karen Alpert Entous, is attached in a pdf document.

The St Croix neighborhood synagogue and school was named Moses Montefiori. It was located on the southwest corner of St. Croix Ave and Buchanan, according to the 1897 Duluth Directory. Rabbi Hyman Appleman was the shochet mentioned in the Memoirs of Hattie Goldish who brought the Torah from the old country.

A cropped portion of the directory page is shown here.

full page

A January 1895 Duluth news article says that "Articles of Incorporation of the Hebrew Synagogue of Montifiori of Duluth were filed yesterday with the register of deeds. The incorporators and trustees are J. Polinsky, Solomon Karon, M. Zalk, I. Karon, I. Polinsky, A. J. Klachko, Sap Karon, J. Rachlleu and J. Kaner."

A January 1896 news article about Duluth churches mentioned two Hebrew congregations in Duluth. One of those was the Congregaton of Moses at 105 First Avenue East with the Rev Hyman Appleman, Rabbi. This was perhaps an earlier location for the synagogue on St. Croix Avenue. The other was the Congregation Tifereth Israel at 825 Fourth Avenue East with Rev. Abraham Fine, Rabbi.

A February 1896 news article discusses the first annual ball of the Judth Montefiori society. Names of the ladies of the society that were mentioned were Masdames S. I. Levin, D. Van Baalen, W. M. Abrahamson, I. Abrahamson and I. Summerfield.

According to The American Jewish Year Book - 5660 (1899-1900), Moses Montefiore Synagogue and School was located on the southwest corner of St. Croix Ave and Buchanan St and the Rabbi was Samuel Snitzer (1869-1934). Click here to see the information about the Duluth congregations from the Year Book. Rabbi Snitzer came to Moses Montefiore in 1899. Click here to get more info about him, his family and getting his credentials from Russia.

An article about the Jewish history of Duluth, written by Walter Eldot, includes informaiton about the Hebrew Congregation of Moses Montefiore. The article, written for the 1985 Reunion Issue of the Jewish Fellowship News, indicates that the congregation was incorporated in 1888 and that it held services in a wooden building on East Third Street, next to the future site of Adas Israel (1900). Click here to see the paragraph.

According to a paragraph in a Duluth Jewish history article published in the 1996 Jubilee Issue of the Jewish Fellowship News, a group of Jews living in the vacinity of St. Croix Avenue also organized the Adas Israel congregation. Click here to see the paragraph.

A large group of students at the Moses Montefiore Hebrew School is pictured in this 1916 image. The Hebrew School was formally organized in 1905 and incorporated in 1908. The driving force behind the school was Mrs. Ida Cook, a Lithuanian immigrant. The school later became the Duluth Talmud Torah.

Click here or on the image to see the full picture in hi res. Go to the 1916 image in the Group Photos section to see the identification of the people shown.

Moses Montifiore Hebrew School was incorporated in 1908. This article was published on August 4, 1908. Click here to see the full article.

According to a 1921 article in The American Jewish World, "The Moses Montefiore Hebrew Institute of Duluth is the leading Jewish Conservative institution in the nothern part of the state. It represents the tendency in Judiasm manifest of late, in the form of Jewish community Centers, a tendency that looks for the solution of the Jewish spiritual and social problemn not exclusively in synagogue or Hebrew School, but in a centre that embraces all the activities of young and old -- Synagogal, educational, and social." Rabbi Israel Lebendinger was the rabbi at that time. See the full article: click here.

According to a 1922 article in the Duluth News Tribune, New York Rabbi David Aaronson may replace Rabbi Israel Lebendiger. The Board of Directors of the Duluth Hebrew Institute are considering applicants. Rabbi Lebendinger resigned and is leaving for St. Louis, Shaare Zedeck synagogue. He had been in charge of the Hebrew Institute Sunday school and congregation for two years. See the full article: click here.

Moses Montefiore was one of many temples and synagogue that existed in Duluth over the years. A list of the temples and synagogues with links to further infromation is avaialble on this site: click here.

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